Ogden board approves teachers’ contract

May 22 2013 - 12:17am

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OGDEN -- The Ogden School Board on Monday night approved a 2013-14 school-year contract with the Ogden Education Association, which represents teachers at the district's three high schools, three junior highs and 14 elementary schools.

"I was very encouraged with the collaborative bargaining we did with the district," said Matt Ogle, executive director of Ogden Weber UniServ, which helped represent OEA teachers during three months of negotiations.

"Everyone came to the table with the intent to negotiate a fair agreement. We've come a long way in two years."

Ogle said he was not here in summer 2011, when contract negotiations stalled and the Ogden district gave teachers an ultimatum to sign a non-negotiated contract or lose their jobs. Teachers held protest rallies, but ultimately, all but one signed the contract.

"Based on the negotiations we had and the many, many hours we spent working together on the contract, I can't imagine these are the same people.

"They are so genuine, and everyone worked really hard and was so honest about trying to solve whatever problems we could in that short amount of time. It was just very encouraging."

Teachers will get a 1 percent cost-of-living raise in exchange for delaying earned-steps pay, an incremental salary increase based on increased professional experience.

Teachers qualifying for steps salary increases will begin receiving them next March. The delay will make small raises possible, Ogle said.

Teachers' health insurance payments will not increase.

Ogle said he believes it is a good deal, considering the tough economic times. "Our negotiations restored my faith in the system."

Ogden School Board member Joyce Wilson represented the board on the negotiation committee. "This is our second year doing interest-based bargaining, and I found it to be a very positive process.There were three issues from each side, and the seventh issue was pay and benefits. It felt very equitable.

"Before, we had a mediator, and now we sit down, face to face, and discuss things that are concerns on either side. It has worked well for us for two years now."

Wilson said the board's vote in favor of the contract was unanimous. Ogle said teachers approved the contract by an overwhelming margin.

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