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Parkland's Tentative 2-Year Agreement Calls for Pay Freeze

Members of the Parkland teachers union learned details of the tentative agreement on Monday night.

The Parkland Teachers Association's with the would freeze teachers' salaries in the first year of a two-year contract, according to a source familiar with the agreement.

It also calls for the district's teachers to each receive a $1,250 salary increase in the second year of the contract, but would require them to contribute to their health care coverage.

Union members learned details of the tentative agreement at a meeting Monday night. 

The proposed salary freeze does not come as a surprise. Parkland's administrators for the current school year, and union and district officials had indicated as early as last April t for teachers in at least the first year of a new contract. 

But at two years in length, the new agreement would be much shorter than the current five-year contract, now in its final year.

Both Parkland Teachers Association President Sandi Gackenbach and Parkland Superintendent Richard Sniscak said a shorter agreement is a responsible move, given economic uncertainties that make forecasting difficult. 

Parkland is facing financial challenges as revenue continues to shrink, a result of lower interest earnings, reduced property assessments, lost subsidies and state funding cuts.

Gackenbach said conversations had been ongoing about the state of the economy and the district's financial challenges as the union and adminstration prepared to enter into "early bird" negotiations.

"We wanted to be helpful and not be a burden to our district," Gackenbach said. "We realize what our neighbors have been up against, and our most important job is educating the children of our district and our community." 

Sniscak said, "Teachers were sensitive to the economic climate we're dealing with right now. They were understanding of the situation. I was glad to see it."

The Parkland School Board and the 626 members of the Parkland Teachers Association must vote on the tentative agreement. The votes are scheduled for Feb. 21.

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