BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- The North Boone Board of Education and The North Boone Education Association have come to a tentative agreement for a new contract.
The teachers union will vote on the contract this Friday at noon, and if it passes then the school board will vote.
Union president Kelly Hanaman says she's happy with the agreement today and hopes union members feel the same way on Friday.
The union was scheduled to strike this upcoming Monday is a deal hadn't been reached. Hanaman says there's no guarantee the contract will be accepted by the union which means there will be no official word on if the strike will be called off until Friday.
"If we do not have a settled contract by March 3rd, the North Boone Education Association will be on strike," said Deb Torrison, Vice President of the North Boone Education Association.
More than a hundred teachers could soon be walking the picket line. Teachers and District 200 can't agree on a new salary schedule. The union wants a base increase of 1.5% and the board is offering more than 3%, but with smaller automatic annual increases called steps. The board is offering a 2% hike, while the union wants to keep the current 3% increase.
The district is also suggesting fewer lanes, increases teachers receive as they acquire more education. There are currently 9 lanes but the district is proposing five lanes. Instead of getting a pay bump every 8 credits, teachers would see an increase for every 16 credits of additional education.
"The district wants to make sure we remain competitive so we can attract good teachers, thus we're willing to put forth a higher base salary. As far as steps and lanes, we're trying to provide something that is more sustainable long term," explains Dr. Steven Baule, superintendent of the North Boone School District.
Under the district's proposal, it would take new teachers longer to make as much money as current educators. Union members say that's not the way to retain teachers.
"To have teachers who are valued and will stay in the district, because they are," said 3rd grade teacher Tina Babcock.
A bargaining session will be held Tuesday night and another on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, there's an informational session for parents and community members. It will be held at 7 p.m. at the Poplar Grove fire station, located at 305 W Grove St.
Teachers are also against what they're calling "merit pay," raises based on performance. Dr. Baule says the district is not proposing merit pay, but under their proposal, if a teacher is rated as "poor," they wouldn't get an automatic raise.
At 6 p.m., members of the North Boone Education Association will be rallying here at the district office before the school board meeting. That's when they'll announce a strike date.
Both sides still can't agree on salary. The union wants a base increase of one-and-a-half percent. The district is offering more than three percent. However, it's offering smaller automatic yearly increases and fewer increases as teachers complete more education. The superintendent of North Boone schools says what they're offering is fair.
"You know, we want to do something's that's fair for our teachers. We know we have really good teachers that continue to provide a top-notch education for our students. But at the same time, it's fair to the taxpayers given our fiscal realities," says Dr. Steven Baule, superintendent.
According to state law, the soonest they could strike is Thursday.
Both sides will continue bargaining. They have sessions scheduled with a federal mediator tomorrow and Wednesday. Parents can learn more about negotiations on Wednesday. We're expected to hear where tonight.