Both sides win

The agreement inked last week between the Vandalia Board of Education and the Vandalia Unit Teachers’ Association marks a successful conclusion to an important negotiation process.

The settlement, which was met by apparent good feelings on both sides, was a victory for all involved – the district, the teachers and the students. The district, which is emerging from dire financial straits just two years ago, now has a little breathing room, thanks to the passage of a bond issue and prudent financial management. And the teachers, who accepted an increase of 1.5 percent two years ago and a salary freeze last year, now have locked in 3-percent raises for three years.

Additionally, non-certified school employees and administrators were given 3-percent raises for one year at a special meeting of the school board this Monday. Superintendent Rich Well was given a 4-percent pay hike. Pay raises for non-certified employees and administrators are not part of the collective bargaining agreement and are generally addressed on a year-to-year basis.

By all accounts, negotiations between the administration and the teachers’ union representatives were handled with candor and respect. In the end, it was a win-win situation, as both sides indicated that they felt good about the results. The resolution is a lesson for future negotiation teams.

As Todd Ehlers, VUTA president, said: ‘The goal is to have good quality teachers in the district. We want to be able to recruit them and retain them.

We applaud those involved in the process. Our students will benefit from a stronger district because of their efforts. And we won’t have to waste the time and energy in a protracted struggle or strike.

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