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Pay-Raise, Discipline-Policy Agreements End First Teacher Strike in Akron History

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Copyright 1989, Editorial Under a three-year agreement ratified by the Akron Education Association and the school board, teachers will receive salary increases of 2.75 percent in the current school year, 3.25 percent in the second year, and 4 percent in the third year.

If the board receives more state or local funding than anticipated during the second year of the contract, salaries would be raised up to an additional 1.5 percent. The average teacher salary, currently $32,000, could reach $35,820 in the third year.

The plan provides that pay raises would not take effect and negotiations would have to resume if a recently passed local levy is repealed.

Tough Disciplinary Policy

It also calls for the formation of committees in each school to set minimum penalties for specific student disciplinary offenses. And it establishes both a mentor program for new teachers and a panel to explore the possibility of starting and ending the elementary-school day earlier.

But the "backbone" of the plan, according to one union official, is a provision that sets penalties ranging from suspension to expulsion for 24 specific disciplinary infractions.

"This gives us one of the strongest disciplinary policies in the state of Ohio," Neil Quirk, vice president of the teachers' union, said last week. "It gives our teachers and students protections in buildings where the principal is weak."

Mr. Quirk dismissed the teacher-mentor provision in the agreement as "minimal," saying the union had proposed a more substantial program.

Included in the plan is a provision barring the board from retaliating against employees for actions taken during the strike.

Picketing during the strike was generally "very peaceful," according to Louis S. Trenta, assistant superintendent for personnel and chief negotiator for the school board. "We never had any incidents serious enough to think about going to court to seek an injunction."--dc

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