BETHEL TWP. — With the first day of school just a a few weeks away, the Bethel Education Association is still without a contract.
The school board and the BEA have been in contract negotiations since early March. School starts on Sept. 5.
If the contract is not approved before then, BEA President Traci Brewer said the teachers will start the year without a contract.
According to a statement issued by the BEA, progress has been made on many issues, but the sticking point is determining how to recognize professional experience.
The 54 member organization has had two contracts with frozen salary schedules in the last six years, which they agreed to during the recession, the statement said. Teachers are now asking for a return to salary schedules that take into account their years of experience.
Superintendent Virginia Potter noted that, although step increases have been frozen, teachers have received roughly a “9 percent increase on their base salaries between the years of 2014-2017.”
“Bethel is my family. I pray this is settled soon so we can all move on and start the school year right,” Brewer said.
The school board scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, Aug. 3, to vote on the hiring of a new athletic director. The teachers’ contract did not appear on that agenda.
The board’s next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 14. They will have a work session at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24. Agendas for board meetings and work sessions are posted on the district’s website.
Reach Cecilia Fox at email@example.com.