From AP - News Headlines -

Mahomet Seymour Strike Ends with a Tentative Contract Agreement

Teachers in the Mahomet Seymour schools will be back in their classrooms on Monday as a two-day strike ends with a tentative contract agreement.

The chief negotiator for the Mahomet Seymour Education Association, Linda Meachum, said school board negotiators offered a compromise Friday afternoon that led to the breakthrough. Meachum said teachers will receive 2.6% pay raise this school year. She said support staff and teacher's aides will get 3.5%.

But the two sides will have to negotiate again next year because the tentative contract is only for one year. Meachum said she believes that's important for both the district and the union.

"At least this way we know what we can live with for one year, and the board can begin to strategically plan for the future," Meachum said shortly after negotiations wrapped up. "We know that some (federal) stimulus money is coming in to the district, and we'll have a better idea of what our fund balance is going to be." Meachum also noted that the state's now-delayed payment schedule to schools might be clearer in a year.

Terry Greene, the president of the Mahomet Seymour school board, says the district had lobbied against a two-year contract but let go of that requirement as union bargainers compromised.

"They agreed to a one-year deal that we thought was responsible and fiscally fair," Greene said. "We want our kids back in school. Usually if you make a deal in which both sides are are a little unhappy it's probably the right deal, and that's just about what happened." But Greene still contends that the deal could have been sealed much earlier in the bargaining process.

Meachum said a ratification vote for the union's 260 members is set for Monday afternoon, after the first day back in class. The school board will cast its vote later that evening.

Categories: Economics, Education, Politics