Teachers in the Carson City School district will receive a 2 percent salary increase this year and a 4 percent increase in the 2006-07 school year under a new contract unanimously approved Tuesday night by the school board.
There are approximately 540 teachers in the school district, according to Richard Stokes, associate superintendent of human resources for the school district.
Negotiations with the Ormsby County Education Association teachers' union started back in February with guidance from facilitator Stephen Kessler of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services out of Oakland.
"We need to thank Stephen Kessler for working through the process from beginning to end," said Gaylea Manning, president of the teachers' union and chairwoman in the bargaining session.
The union, one of the four in the school district, used the facilitator's services in a negotiation process called interest-based bargaining, which recognizes the needs of both groups and works toward a resolution. The services are free, and nothing limits their use in future negotiations.
"I've heard it was a good process this year," said School Board President James Hukari. " ... The interest-based bargaining seems to be working well. I hope we can continue down the path."
Six members of OCEA's bargaining team were present. They commented on the pleasure it was to work with Stokes and Anderson, the district's finance director.
"I enjoyed the process," said Martha Samples, a representative on OCEA's bargaining team. "It was really enlightening and quite progressive and productive."
By not filling several staff positions vacated last year, the district will be able to shoulder some of the cost from the salary increases.
Declining student enrollment means the district will receive less funding from the state.
"You have to keep your salaries up if you want to be able to attract teachers," said School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski later in the meeting. "If we sit here and don't give the raises to our employees, we'll be in a position where we'll lose people and won't be able to get the teachers in the positions that we need filled."
The sole union left with a contact to come before the board is the administrators' union, and interest-based bargaining is also being used in those negotiations.
The classified employees' union and nurses' union, whose contracts were approved at the previous board meeting, used traditional negotiation practices this year.
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