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Strike averted at Champion schools

Teachers, district reach agreement

CHAMPION — School will be open on time next week as the Champion Education Association and the district agreed to a new multiyear contract at 9 a.m. Friday.

With the new contract, teachers and other district staff will return to school on Monday and Tuesday to prepare for students returning Wednesday.

“School will begin on time and all extracurricular and sporting activities will be commencing without interruption,” Superintendent John Grabowski said. “I’m grateful we got it done on time. It was a process.

“We are all excited to welcome our students back into school next week to continue to provide the best training opportunities for all of our students,” Grabowski said.

The new contract includes language that addresses the nonfinancial issues, such as elementary planning time, the union presented to the community Tuesday.

Once members of the community were able to hear both sides, their voice became the voice of reason urging negotiations to continue in good faith, a union report states.

The CEA represents 92 Champion teachers. During a community forum Tuesday, the union outlined its latest contract offer — a 2.5 percent increase in each year of the three-year agreement and elementary teaching staff receiving a 45-minute daily planning period, the same as middle and high school instructors.

The contract expired June 30. Negotiations on a new agreement have been ongoing for three months among the union and the board of education and administration.

The board gave its final offer to teachers last week — a 2.15 percent pay increase per year, Jim Scher, board vice president and spokesman, said.

He said the offer also included a step-pay increase in year 22, tuition reimbursement of $1,100 per teacher for taking college classes, $250 signing bonus per teacher if the contract is approved and $400 for any teacher who does not take any sick days during the year.

The offer is comparable to other districts of similar size and budget as Champion, he said.

The Champion Board of Education is expected to ratify the agreement at its meeting Monday.

news@tribtoday.com

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