Sherrard Board of Education ratifies contract

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After seven months of negotiations and some compromise from both sides, the Sherrard Board of Education and Sherrard Education Association have agreed on a two year contract.

On Sunday, February 23, 2014, 96% of the Sherrard Education Association voted in favor of a tentative contract that was reached between the Sherrard Board of Education and union representatives on Sunday, February 16, 2014.

All but one Board member voted to rafity that contract Monday, March 12, 2014, for 190 of the district’s employees.

“Probably more relieved that it's done and it's one less thing hanging over their heads,” said Robert Wilson, teacher and lead negotiator for the Sherrard Education Assocation.

“We're pretty happy about the fact that we were able to come to an agreement,” said Leslie Anderson, President of the Sherrard Board of Education.

The two year contract will last through the 2015 school year.

Initially, the Sherrard Education Association wanted a one year contract and the Sherrard Board of Education wanted a three year contract.

“The two year contract still gives us the opportunity to look at the pension reform, the Affordable Care Act, and get the new superintendent in place and renegotiate the next contract,” said Anderson.

The contract also gives teachers what they wanted in terms of professional and development days.

“They're little things but they matter to the teachers,” said Wilson.

One of the sticking points during the negotiation process was how the district would implement their plan for a universal start time. When bids came in too high from outside companies, the Board of Education dropped the plan.

“We decided as a district is we're not going to invest $450,000 plus a year in busing,” said Anderson.

That helped the two sides reach an agreement and gives them at least one year before they will need to negotiate again.

Both sides say they will work on their relationship moving forward.

“Hopefully it can start moving in a more positive direction, I mean that's what we'd like to see,” said Wilson.

“We're trying to have some open dialogue about how can we improve this process and this relationship moving forward so we don't find ourselves in this situation again,” said Anderson.

The employees represented by the union have been working without a contract since July 2013.