MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County School District has reached a rare early contract settlement with its teachers union after the school board voted Tuesday to ratify a collective bargaining agreement.
The Juniata County Education Association contract includes an average salary increase of 2.77 percent each year for two years, beginning July 1, 2010, and continuing until June 30, 2012, Superintendent Kenneth Albaugh said. The increase figures in both salary increases and health care premium sharing, Albaugh said.
After the meeting, JCEA President Chris Heidenreich said both parties worked in a timely manner to get the contract settled.
"There was a lot of healthy give-and-take on both sides," Heidenreich said. "We were really happy that the district was willing to work on an early contract."
School Board President Gary Zeiders also was positive about the settlement. He thanked the JCEA representatives who attended the meeting for the union's cooperation and respect during negotiations.
"It's a new era," Zeiders said. "Thank you very much."
Both Heidenreich and Albaugh noted that an early-bird contract is rare for any school district, especially Juniata County.
"This is the first (early-bird contract settlement) in a long time in Juniata County," Heidenreich said. "Everybody in the community was ready for things to be settled."
Earlier this year, JCEA representatives approached the administration about working on an early-bird contract, and the school board agreed to begin negotiations before the state required start time, Albaugh said. The union's current contract is set to expire on June 30, 2010, and negotiations for a new contract were not required to begin until January.
The Juniata County Education Association negotiates for approximately 220 employees in the school district.
The school board met for the special meeting Tuesday to fill two vacant positions and to approve other routine business matters, in addition to approving the contract.