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New teachers' contract in Mabton allows educators option of working shorter days

MABTON - Mabton teachers are seeing the effects of the statewide budget cuts.

With the 1.9 percent cut in teachers' pay approved by state lawmakers, the school district is working to make up the loss in educators' salaries through time.

In a regular monthly school board meeting last week, the Mabton School Board voted to approve collective bargaining agreements with the Mabton Education Association and the Coaches Association that will shorten employees' working days.

The Mabton Education Association members approved the contract, four days prior to last week's meeting. The contract was then presented to the school board, in an executive session, Aug. 22 and approved.

"We had no control in the state budget cuts," Superintendent Minerva Morales said. "But what we did have control was ways we could give teachers back their time lost without imposing a financial burden on the district."

The district and education association reached an agreement on the working day.

Morales said the teacher to student contact time will remain the same, but the length of the day will be decreased.

"Teachers will be given the option to leave earlier," she said.

Morales said typically negations are approved for three years. This year, the contract was approved for two years.

"We did this in hopes the economy would turn around," she added.

The two-year contract will also affect class-size and the insurance pool, as well as District directed days, such as in-service training days.

Additionally, the board approved a three-year contract for the coaches association. Morales said the contract was significantly similar to years past with one 'big ticket' item to discuss.

"We had to clarify the number of athletes participating that would determine the (number) of coaches hired," she said.

Both items were tabled on the agenda until after nearly 45 minutes in an executive session. The items were both then unanimously approved.

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