OSKALOOSA — “They were very good negotiations, it’s a very good agreement,” according to Paul Burrow, chief negotiator for the Oskaloosa Education Association. He was speaking of the new contract negotiated with the Oskaloosa Community School District, which was accepted by the teaching staff last Friday and passed by unanimous vote at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Burrow, who teaches Spanish and social studies at the high school, said the major feature of the contract is the $1,200 increase to the base salary of all licensed staff, not including administrative staff. This increase was possible because enrollment in the district actually increased by 0.8 student — no state funding has been lost this year due to declining enrollment — and also because health insurance expenses for the district increased less than 1 percent. Money that might have otherwise been needed to pay for insurance could be applied to salaries instead.

There were other provisions the staff was glad to be able to receive as well. Persons in their final year before retirement will have the ability to be paid in fewer installments, which will enhance their retirement benefit.

Employees who work at four or more school events will be eligible to receive a family pass to activities.

Also, since the law no longer mandates physicals for staff, that requirement was dropped from the contract.

Those covered by the contract received a 5.25 percent overall increase in salary and benefits.

Herald Staff Writer Sue Salisbury can be reached at salisburys@oskyherald.com.

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