Teachers union pickets to alert OH community

Chilling rain began to fall as teachers and students crowded the street corner outside Monday's school board meeting with signs demanding the board settle contract negotiations.

As night fell, parents joined the group to show their support as officials from the Carlisle (OH) Teachers Association and Board of Education resumed contract talks.

The display was to "alert the community that we've been working without a contract since June 30," said union spokesman Chuck Wiggins. "We want to settle the contract and stay in the classrooms."

The union submitted notice it will strike beginning Nov. 2 if a settlement is not reached. Teachers also would need to vote Oct. 29 to approve the strike.

Monday night's bargaining talks were the first since teachers last week overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer that outlined a 0.75 percent salary increase funded by upping teachers' health insurance costs.

Union officials said with that offer, Carlisle teachers would be the lowest paid in Warren County by next year.

Carlisle is the second-lowest paying district for entry-level teachers in the county. Wayne Local Schools falls just behind, but would outpace Carlisle next year by $302 if Carlisle accepts the 0.75 percent increase, according to salary figures from Wayne and Carlisle districts.

Other Warren County schools have more students or a higher community wealth, however, and Superintendent Tim McLinden said it is unrealistic to expect Carlisle to offer the same pay.

Although Carlisle offers lower salaries, the district pays more for teachers once health insurance costs are included. Carlisle pays one of the highest percentages of health care costs in the county, McLinden said.

Union officials say they worry about competing with neighboring districts to recruit and retain good teachers.


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