Whitehall News

School board prepares to negotiate new contract with teachers


Whitehall school board members held a special meeting last week to begin preliminary teacher contract discussions.

In addition to several personnel items, board members also made some minor changes to the policy concerning interdistrict transfers during the meeting, held Jan. 29.

The panel also met behind closed doors to begin initial dialogue concerning the upcoming teacher contract negotiations. Board members met with Superintendent Brian Hamler and Treasurer Steve McAfee, who reviewed issues related to the upcoming talks.

McAfee told board members earlier this year that contract negotiations likely will mean an increase in salary for staff members, who have been under a pay freeze since 2011.

In September 2011, the Whitehall City School District and its teachers agreed to rescind the final year of the teachers' existing contract in order to renegotiate a pay freeze in an effort to save programming for students.

The Whitehall Education Association's membership voted to approve the agreement.

The three-year deal with teachers rescinded the contract that was to expire June 30, 2012. In its place, Whitehall's teachers maintained the terms of the former contract for the first year of the three-year deal -- along with a 2 percent pay increase -- but then agreed to a pay freeze for the second two years of the agreement. The deal also halted any step increases for teachers for that same two-year period.

In October 2011, the district's classified employees agreed to a similar deal, including a two-year pay freeze.

Both contracts run through June 30, 2014.