Yukon school teachers, district approve contract

Members of Yukon’s teachers’ union and the Yukon School District have come to terms on a new contract that not only includes substantial pay raises, but also resolves a variety of concerns.

The Yukon School Board approved the negotiated deal on Monday during a special meeting.

The deal was overwhelmingly approved last Wednesday by members of the Yukon Professional Educators Association.

The vote was 280-3.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said the deal incorporates a pay raise for teachers that was approved by the state Legislature last year, as well as some other incentives, including an adjustment to the amount of sick days that can be cashed out at retirement.

Teachers also will receive a bonus based on the number of days they are in class.

Vicky Bonny, who is president of the association, said the group was pleased with this year’s deal.

“Some of our major issues, we got them figured out,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot of major changes with the negotiations.”

One significant concern is what is known as duty time. Those are minutes where a teacher is required to work but it is off contract time.

With the agreement, teachers will now be paid for that time.

In addition, teachers will have an incentive to be in class every day.

Under the agreement, Bonny said teachers will receive a $550 bonus is they don’t miss any days, $450 if they miss one day of class, $200 if they miss two days and $100 if they miss three days.

Also approved was a change in the amount of sick time a retiring teacher can “cash out.” This year, that amount has been raised to $25 per day. Last year, it was $20. The maximum that can be cashed out is $3,000.

The biggest issue, however, was teacher pay.

Simeroth said the district will continue to pay above the state minimum.

This year’s base salary is $38,500. He also said the school added one step.

Bonny said teachers were disappointed that a request for added money to the step system was not approved, but they are happy to be above the state minimum.

“We sat down and looked at both sides,” Simeroth said. “They are a professional group, and 280-3 was a really good vote.”

The new contract goes into effect immediately.

The teachers will see their pay raises as part of their September paychecks, which will be the first of the school year.

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