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School board OKs contract

East Valley changes increase flexibility

The East Valley school board approved a long-awaited contract with its teachers union at Tuesday’s meeting. The two sides have been negotiating for months, and at times progress was slow.

Both sides made compromises, said East Valley Education Association President Con Mealey. Slight increases in supplemental pay were added to the contract, and changes were made to class-size requirements. The previous contract had rigid rules on class sizes, but the new contract has a little wiggle room, Mealey said. “We’ll talk about overages on an as-needed basis,” he said.

If a teacher has a large class, he or she can ask the district for help, including extra paraprofessional time, extra money for classroom materials and professional development or extra pay. If an arrangement is not made, then the class-size limits in the contract will be enforced.

The contract also adds an extra in-service day for teachers. “The state took it away and we bargained it back,” Mealey said.

In other business, the board approved the 2010 levy rate. Voters approved a rate of $3.15 per $1,000 in assessed home value for 2010. By law, the district is only allowed to collect an amount equal to 24 percent of the money the district receives from the state. The maximum amount the district can collect in 2010 is $7 million, or $2.53 per $1,000.

This week’s meeting was the first for newly elected board member Heidi Gillingham. Recently re-elected board member Roger Trainor was approved as the new chairman on a 3-2 vote and board member Mitch Jensen was unanimously re-elected as vice chairman.

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