Lincoln County school teachers have voted to accept a labor agreement with the district that spans three school years, July-June 2011-12, 12-13, and 13-4. There are no pay raises but there are built in opportunities for pay hikes under certain conditions; mainly that the economy turns around or the state otherwise comes into more money that can be shared at the local school district level. And even then, only after the district meets the school board’s goal of a full, no-furlough school year and lowered class-sizes. After that the money would be passed out on a pro-rated basis and collaboratively decided on how to distribute the money to teachers.
Under the agreement, all teacher pay step increases will be delayed six months.
Also under the agreement, the Superintendent and the School Board cannot cut more than ten school days without the consent of the union.
Out of a total of around 230 teachers in the district, the vote to ratify the agreement was 148-31. School Board Chairman Ron Beck said after the board voted unanimously to ratify the same contract, “We opened the district books, showed them where there is money, and where there isn’t any, and they came to their own conclusion that times are tough and that nobody was hiding anything.”
The school district, like all others around Oregon, have been making budget cuts every year and have suffered from declining state support. Many employee unions around the country have adopted a “hunker down” approach to contract renewals, settling for little if any pay increases and sometimes even higher employee contributions for pension matching or medical benefits.