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Oak Harbor teachers agree to contract

Oak Harbor teachers unanimously ratified a new two-year contract with the Oak Harbor School District after an agreement was reached last week. Negotiators representing the 350 members of Oak Harbor Education Association reached an agreement with the school district on June 8, after three months at the bargaining table.

The teachers approved the contract through a voice vote during a June 11 meeting that 164 union members attended.

The sense from both sides of the table is that in tough economic times, it’s a relief to come up with a fair agreement that everyone can support.

“Both sides truly worked together,” said Mike Watson, OHEA president said in a news release. “It wasn’t easy, but everybody took it seriously, recognized the economic times we are in, the problems that causes, and came up with answers that work.”

The new agreement calls for the school district to pick up the cost for keeping the Learning Improvement Day, which provides teachers an extra day of preparation just before the start of the school year. The added cost to the school district is about $110,000, according to the news release.

The timing of the agreement is receiving as much praise as the content. Concluding the contract by the end of the school year brings a sigh of relief to both sides as they head into summer.

“We can end the school year with the confidence that everyone will be ready next September to start again,” Watson said.

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