Oak Harbor teachers lean toward furlough time

Oak Harbor students will see a handful of half days this year as a result of the Legislature’s decision to cut certificated staff salaries by 1.9 percent for the 2011-2012 school year.

“We have put forth several solutions to mitigate the cut,” Amy Coleman, the Oak Harbor Education Association’s lead bargainer, said. “We were looking for furlough time equivalent to the cut amount of pay.”

The school district and the education association reached a tentative agreement last week on the issue. The 1.9 percent reduction is equivalent to about three and a half teacher-work days, so the agreement shortens seven work days from full length to half.

The days affected include the four conference days (Oct. 13, Oct. 14, April 19 and April 20) and the days preceding Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks (Nov. 23, Dec. 16 and March 30).

“We were looking to be consistent with our other groups,” Human Services Executive Director Kurt Schonberg said. “The principals took four days less of work and less pay and the administrators took five.”

The agreement will not be finalized until after the union and school board vote on it in early September, but Coleman said it’s likely to be approved.

“There’s a high probability that this is going to be accepted,” she said.

Schonberg said the district and education association have a positive and open relationship which causes negotiating to occur relatively smoothly.

“It’s important during challenging times for us to work collaboratively together,” he said.

Coupeville School District Superintendent Patty Page said her district has also reached a tentative agreement, but added that details wouldn’t be released until after the information is shared with the union members on Sept. 1.


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