Jefferson teachers, board OK 1 percent raise
Teachers with Jefferson County Public Schools will get a 1 percent raise next year as part of an agreement that resolves a yearlong rift between their union and district officials.
The agreement, approved 6-1 last night by the school board, also ends the union's involvement in a pending lawsuit filed by 18 non-tenured teachers whose contracts weren't renewed in May because of performance issues.
Union members had complained that the district was getting rid of the teachers without trying to help them first, and from there the union's relationship with Superintendent Sheldon Berman steadily deteriorated.
"The war is over," Steve Neal, executive director of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, said after the board meeting. "There are other things I would have liked, but for the most part, this is a good agreement."
The agreement, the result of four days of mediation, also requires nonunion teachers to pay part of their salary to the teachers association to cover the cost of representation.
That sparked protest from some teachers and prompted board Chairwoman Debbie Wesslund to vote against the agreement.
Sherry Hoza, a speech pathologist with the district, said the fee is tantamount to "forced unionism."
Roughly 5,700 district teachers are members of the union. Neal said about 300 to 400 aren't members.
The agreement establishes a new process for evaluating non-tenured teachers and will still allow Berman the option of not renewing their contracts for performance reasons....