MANDATA — The 84 teachers in the Line Mountain Education Association have a new contract, promising an average annual raise of 3.52 percent.
At Tuesday night's public meeting via Zoom, seven members of the school board voted unanimously to approve the new five-year collective bargaining agreement between the district and the teachers union. The contract begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2026.
"It was very difficult five years ago, but I believe a lot of people recognize the hard work that teachers have done with online with very little negative feedback," said Superintendent Dave Campbell. "I believe teachers and the board wanted to get it done, and they got it done."
The negotiations for this new contract were vastly different from the last negotiations for the current contract where it took five years and two strikes to finally pass. This specific contract took one 80-minute meeting between the two negotiating parties on Feb. 4 before a tentative agreement was reached, said Campbell.
"We don't anticipate it causing us to raise taxes," said Superintendent Dave Campbell. "Over the five years, it's a 3.52 percent increase."
The largest highlight of the contract, according to board President Troy Laudenslager, is an increase of the starting salary from $35,338 to $40,000 for a teacher with a bachelor's degree.
"Our goal was to be more competitive at the top, bottom and across the board and I think we achieved that," Board President Troy Laudenslager said. "We are able to maintain the increases through the five-year contract."
Laudenslager said he is "very excited" with how the negotiations went this time.
"I've been part of the longest and the shortest, and I'll take this every time," he said. "We're very pleased."
The contract also calls for a few language updates. The contract allows for five family sick days instead of three and allows for unused personal days above the cap of seven to be converted to sick days.
For retirement severance, the minimum years of service are reduced from 25 to 20 to qualify and increase the value from $65 to $100.
The contract adds existing and additional co-curricular and extracurricular positions: archery, two each for the senior class and prom advisors, and one each for key club and student council
For bereavement leave, the contract adds step-relatives/in-laws to respective immediate famil, near relatives and moving grandparents to immediate family.
LMEA President Lydia Bomgardner, who is a ESL/gifted support teacher, was unable to be reached for comment.