Thursday, October 18, 2001

Mediator offers Mason proposal

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        MASON — The Mason teachers union is scheduled to vote today on a proposed contract presented by a federal mediator Wednesday after a seven-hour negotiating session.

        The session came one week after the Mason Education Association voted to strike on Oct. 29 if teachers and the Board of Education did not reach an agreement on a new contract.

        The same week, the board passed a contingency plan in case of a strike, including authorization for the superintendent to hire substitute teachers at up to $250 a day for the duration of the strike.

        Spokeswoman Maria Correale said the union is in a holding pattern until all of its members see the proposal, but she said it could be a step toward resolution.

        “Because both sides are ready to take what the federal moderator gave them back to their teams, it certainly could be a (step),” she said.

        “Hopefully, they will ratify the decision of the federal mediator,” said Marianne Culbertson, president of the school board,“and we will approve it, and we will have a settled contract and get on with the business of educating kids.”

        If the union votes to accept Wednesday's proposal, the settlement will be forwarded later in the day to the board for approval.

        The board and the union, whose members have been working without a contract since June, have been negotiating since early spring.

        Wednesday was the first federally mediated negotiation session between the two parties since July.

        It is not known what salary level union negotiators are seeking, but Jerry Schrock, a member of the bargaining team, has said current pay for an incoming teacher is $28,500.

        The union represents all but a dozen of 468 teachers in the district. Some 95 percent of the teachers who attended a meeting Oct. 10 voted to strike if no agreement is reached.


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