More than 98 percent of Douglas County’s nearly 3,000 teachers signed their 2012-2013 contracts by the district’s June 15 deadline, despite the …
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More than 98 percent of Douglas County’s nearly 3,000 teachers signed their 2012-2013 contracts by the district’s June 15 deadline, despite the absence of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Fifty-one of the district 2,979 teachers have not returned contracts, but they are not necessarily without a job.
“There’s not a grace period, but if there’s some sort of extenuating circumstance, we’ll consider every one of these contracts on a case-by-case basis,” school district spokesperson Randy Barber said.
The district always has had a contract deadline, but it was not strictly enforced under previous administrations, Barber said. In the case of some long-term teachers, “there was some understanding they didn’t have to,” he said.
“By law, we’re supposed to offer a contract and they’re supposed to sign and return it within 30 days. We’re doing what the state requires.”
This year’s deadline enforcement came amid a stalemate in negotiations between the union and school district for a collective bargaining agreement. The 2011-2012 agreement expires June 30, and some teachers held off signing the contracts hoping to first learn the terms of the 2012-2013 agreement. Despite more than 100 hours of negotiations, the two sides have not agreed, with several issues still unresolved.
Teachers’ union president Brenda Smith said the union never asked teachers to hold off on signing their contracts until an agreement was reached, and some teachers say they felt signing was their only choice.
The district proposes a 1 percent raise and 1 percent retention bonus for all teachers, but the possible bonus was tied to the June 15 deadline. As with the contracts themselves, there may be wiggle room for those who haven’t yet signed contracts to still get the bonus.
For instance, Barber said, “If somebody was out with ill parents, I can’t say we wouldn’t provide that step bonus.”
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