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Ashland teachers union, district agree on draft contract

Ashland School District and the Ashland Education Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract, the district announced earlier this month.

Superintendent Kelly Raymond said the agreement represents “a very successful outcome, and I think everyone was pleased.”

A red-line version of the contract from May 23 showed licensed employee salaries increasing by 2 percent in 2018-19, and 2.75 percent each in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Sick leave is changing with the new contract. Teachers and other licensed staff under the current contract can transfer up to 10 days of accumulated sick leave from any other Oregon school district that previously employed them. The contract increases that cap to 75 days, with additional stipulations that only accumulated leave from the most recent employing district can transfer over, and the employee can access those sick days after working 30 days with the Ashland School District.

Language about sick leave as it applies to pregnancy, parental and sick child leave is updated from specific procedures involving physician verification to more broadly stipulate compliance with all state and federal leave laws on those circumstances.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be added as a paid holiday for the first time, which Raymond said aligns with the district’s goals for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Kimberley Healey, AEA president, couldn’t be reached by phone for comment.

“Teachers make a difference every day in our students’ lives,” Raymond said. “And state funding in education is what it is, and so I really feel like Ashland is really supporting their teachers with this agreement.”

A final agreement must be established by July. The Ashland School Board must ratify the agreement on behalf of the district, and both AEA and the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council must ratify the agreement for it to be set through June 2021.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.

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