The Rainy River District School Board on Tuesday night ratified a two-year deal with its secondary school teachers, who had voted 92.7 percent in favour of the agreement last Friday.
The deal had been hammered out after two days of negotiations earlier this month.
“I think it being a two-year deal is a positive aspect of this settlement,” said Education Director Warren Hoshizaki following Tuesday night’s special board meeting here.
“There are only three [other] boards in the province that have a two-year deal,” he noted.
The two-year agreement runs from Sept. 1, 2000 to Aug. 31, 2002, and includes a salary increase of two percent retroactive to September, 1999, another two percent in February, 2001, two percent in September, 2001, and two percent in February, 2002.
The contract also reflects a reduction of two personal leave days, and now requires up to 25 periods of on-calls/supervision for secondary school teaches.
“These changes in working conditions will directly benefit the students in the three district high schools in Fort Frances, Atikokan, and Rainy River,” the board said in a press release.
The agreement, which amounts to a three percent expenditure for the board, was the first one proposed after the two groups met for a third round of contract talks Dec. 7-8, with final negotiations running to 4:30 a.m.
“We did bring in some incentive within the collective agreement to entice staff but I think the primary thing is they have to want it,” noted trustee Frank Sheppard, a member of the board’s negotiating committee.
Trustees ratified the deal after a brief in-camera session and appeared pleased with the results.
“The teaching staff here are very good people and it’s reflected in their executive,” said Sheppard.
“Unfortunately, the province has implemented a few changes in collective bargaining that don’t do well to serve the teachers and the students, to tell you the truth.”
“Getting a two-year agreement is a very positive move and will enable both teachers and trustees to focus on the other key issues surrounding students,” noted board chair Gord McBride, who also congratulated both teams of negotiators.
“Considering the impact of current changes in education affecting secondary teachers, a successful contract settlement should have a positive on the teaching and learning environment in our district high schools,” echoed Hoshizaki.
Ed Ojala, local president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, could not be reached for comment by press time Wednesday morning.