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Denair Unified, teachers reach tentative agreement

POSTED January 23, 2014 9:47 p.m.

After more than a year of negotiations, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Denair Unified School District and the Denair Unified Teachers Association, who have come to a tentative agreement   to restore the District to a financial and educational status to outgrow an impending state takeover.

DUTA is slated to vote on the agreement next Tuesday and if the association ratifies the agreement, the board will likely implement it at the next meeting on Thursday and concessions will be made by teachers starting in February.

The tentative agreement between the District and DUTA will fulfill a three year contract, because the District is legally obligated to prove that they can be financially sound in that amount of time, and aims to accomplish that through a 7 percent pay cut to teachers among other negotiations.

“While we still face a 7 percent temporary pay cut, it is a far cry from the drastic 11 percent cut the superintendent demanded. Now our members can put aside worries about their own financial future so they can continue to focus on student success in our District,” said DUTA president Barry Cole.

A fact finding report was delivered in early January, providing the basis for which the District and DUTA negotiated and arrived at their current but tentative agreement.

The fact finding report found that an 11 percent cut, which is what the District wanted, would have been too severe to the teachers’ association.

“It is in the public’s interest to have teachers paid competitively, so that the District can attract and retain teachers,” the report stated. “A stable workforce will also likely help to stop the decline in enrollment and bring overall stability to this District and the labor management relationship.”

After months of disagreeing on the basic facts, the fact finding report served as a bridge between the District and the teachers’ association.

“I think the agreement of the fact finding report was very helpful in giving constructs for an agreement. The three panel members agree on the conclusions that were given and we’ve got a roadmap for a solution,” said Interim Superintendent Walt Hanline.  “It is a tentative three year agreement but it is also a long term agreement to keep the District out of jeopardy.”

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