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AWEA seeks 3.94 percent total increase

The Akron Hometowner of Akron, Iowa

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Akron-Westfield Education Association (AWEA) presented its contract negotiation to the board of education members Jan. 13, and is seeking a total package increase of 3.94 percent for 2010-11.

The school board presented its first public response on Jan. 15, then the two sides began negotiations.

Pam Von Hagel of AWEA told board members that a one percent salary increase is being sought, plus return of TSS funds taken away by state legislation, or $891 per teacher. The others, listed on schedules C and D, represented in the union were not impacted by the legislation, but would receive the one percent raise, the union stated.

The total package includes salary increase, FICA, IPERS, Medi, 10 percent insurance increase, lanes, and a .3 percent increase on IPERS. The total cost, if approved as presented, would be $129,132, the union's team stated.

"We hope to work in a spirit of collaboration as we grasp the very changing world around us. We have presented this package so we can be flexible in negotiations. We have been asked to do more with fewer colleagues. Every day in every classroom, students try to grasp what is happening around them, because once he or she understands, the better chance they have to be successful.

"We have a shared interest in seeing this project through, The students' success can only happen if we all work together," Van Hagel said.

Bargaining laws now require one salary schedule, the school board was told. "Because of this law change, we are presenting our proposal differently," Van Hagel said.

"There is no secret that the economy is uncertain in Iowa and the world. Our opening proposal takes that into consideration. However, we make no apologies; the proposal will give us flexibility to bargain. Quite frankly, teaching has not gotten easier because the economy is bad. It has gotten harder. Every day, we see the fallout of people losing their jobs, budget cuts we're asked to do more with fewer colleagues. Unlike private business, when there are staff reductions, work goes up, that is the reality of public education today," Von Hagel said.

Other school districts have given the TSS monies despite the state not funding them, AWEA states, and asked that those dollars be reinstated.

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Original Publication Date: January 20, 2010

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