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Dixon Public Schools, union reach tentative agreement

Deal must be approved by school board and union members

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – According to Dixon Public Schools Superintendent Michael Juenger, after nearly 19 months of negotiations, there’s a second tentative contract agreement between the school district and the Dixon Educational Support Personnel Association.

The two sides met for about 5 hours Tuesday to finalize the language of the 4-year contract, which includes the 2012-13 and the current school year. The contract expires after the 2015-16 school year.

The contract must now be ratified by the union members, who are teachers aides, and approved by the school board during its next meeting. In August, the two sides reached a tentative agreement, but it wasn’t ratified by the union.

Juenger said both sides made compromises, and he was confident this agreement would be ratified by the union and approved by the school board.

DESPA President Mindy Donoho didn’t respond to a request for comment.

As long as the agreement is ratified before the school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19, the board will be able to vote on it, Juenger said.

The final sticking point in the contract negotiations was the way the hours were going to be calculated in relation to teachers aides being eligible for health insurance. That issue was resolved in a memorandum of understanding, signed by representatives from both sides prior to the school board meeting in January.

The district declared an impasse in the negotiations Dec. 4, and both final contract offers were made public Dec. 18.

In the tentative agreement, DESPA members working 30 hours a week will be eligible for health insurance. It was previously 20 hours.

The contract also calls for raises, including 7 percent for the 2013-14 school year.

Negotiating teams for both sides met from noon to about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday without a mediator, Juenger said, adding that there were two breaks during which the sides discussed the contract among themselves, one lasting an hour.

With the health insurance calculation resolved, the Tuesday negotiations finalized some language in the contract, Juenger said, adding that the financial package of the agreement didn’t change from when the final offers were made public in December.

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