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It’s official SFSD Board ratifies teacher contract

 

 

By Stephen Floyd

 

The Silver Falls School District (SFSD) Board has ratified a contract with the district teachers’ union, officially closing a long and sometimes-contentious round of collective bargaining.

During its May 8 meeting, the board unanimously ratified a contract with the Silver Falls Education Association (SFEA), whose membership ratified the contract beforehand.

The agreement retroactively went into effect July 1, 2022, and will expire June 30, 2025.

 

Both sides struck a deal April 18 following a year of negotiations that saw several rounds of mediation and a declaration from the union of an intention to strike. The contract included language that would hold the district accountable to class size targets, while the targets themselves would be defined in a separate memorandum.

During the board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Dan Busch said class size targets were a major sticking point as well as other workload-related issues. He said both sides felt like a lot was accomplished in the finalized contract.

Prior to a settlement being reached, some board members expressed concern about class size proposals, specifically language that would provide a temporary pay stipend for teachers with oversized classes. The approved contract kept the 1.5 percent increase but added an annual cap for total stipend expenditure of $30,000, and created a committee to determine if stipends were justified.

Board Member Jonathan Edmonds, who was among those who expressed initial concerns about a stipend proposal, said the finalized contract was a net positive for the district.

“It was a long process but it looks like in the end a lot of good things came out of it,” said Edmonds.

All seven board members voted in favor of ratifying the contract.

The district’s efforts now turn toward a bond proposal that would address renovations and deferred maintenance at all school facilities. A Bond Advisory Committee has developed a draft recommendation after a series of listening sessions held in recent months to gather feedback from the community.

The committee’s finalized recommendation is expected to be presented to the board during its May 22 meeting. On June 12, the board is expected to consider putting bond on the 2024 General Election ballot, and the proposed amount for any such bond.

Numbers floated have included $75 million to rebuild Silverton Middle School, and between $26 million and $63 million for district-wide improvements.

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