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KINSMAN Badger teachers reject final contract offer



Published: Wed, August 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The superintendent says he doesn't think the district has ever had a strike.

KINSMAN -- Teachers in the Joseph Badger Local School District voted unanimously Tuesday to reject the school board's final contract offer and send a notice of intent to strike Sept. 5 if no contract is reached by then.

Teachers union officials made that announcement in a prepared statement released to the press.

The announcement doesn't surprise Superintendent Richard Pachuk.

"We've been at the table and exchanged proposals and the board knew we were far apart," he said.

The union, Badger Education Association, which represents the 74 teachers in the district, met with school board negotiators for five hours Tuesday before the teachers voted. The two sides have met 21 times since negotiations began March 7.

Teachers report for work Friday for all-day meetings and students report for classes beginning Monday. The teachers union contract expires Aug. 31.

Disagreements: Eltha Logan, BEA negotiator, said major disagreements between the union and the administration concern salary, workloads, health insurance and supplemental coaching contracts. Although the Badger school district is financially secure, Badger teachers are among the lowest paid in Trumbull County and have not received pay increases in six of the last 16 years, she said.

The district includes Hartford and Gustavus elementary schools, Badger Middle School and Badger High School, and enrolls about 1,300 students.

Pachuck said the parties declared an impasse June 28 and initially met with a federal mediator July 31.

The superintendent thinks there hasn't been a teachers' strike in the school district's history which dates to 1960.

The parties are to resume talks Thursday with Thomas Putnam, a federal mediator.

"I'm reasonably optimistic," Pachuk said. "I know we are far apart, but you never know."




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