LOWELLVILLE Teachers approve of a 3-year contract

The union accepted a contract proposal after 18 hours of negotiations last weekend.
LOWELLVILLE -- Lowellville teachers approved a three-year contract with the board of education Monday night, averting a strike, said Cathy Russo, spokeswoman for the Lowellville Education Association.
Russo would not go into specifics of the agreement because the school board must ratify the contract. Teachers were poised to go on strike Jan. 22 had an agreement not been reached.
"I can tell you that the teachers are relieved," said Russo. "The situation was stressful for all of us: students, parents, teachers, administration and board members."
Superintendent Richard Buchenic said a special meeting would probably be scheduled this week so the board can look at the contract.
"The board and administrative office are very happy with the results," he said.
Negotiations had been ongoing for 10 months. Teachers had been working without a contract since Aug. 31.
What happened: A federal mediator was requested by the teachers union in August, much to the chagrin of board members who, last week, said mediators were slowing negotiations.
Chances for an agreement looked grim during a board meeting last Wednesday when board member Roy Palumbo said, "It's getting uglier, and it doesn't have to be this way."
But the two sides met for about 18 hours Friday and Saturday.
Now, Russo said, things are looking brighter.
"2002 is going to be a good year for us," she said.

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