there might have been between the Duneland Teachers Association (DTA) and
the Duneland Schools administration and School Board during recent contract
negotiations was gone and the air cleared, when the board voted unanimously
at a special meeting Monday night to ratify a new agreement.
agreement, retroactive to Aug. 1 and expiring on June 30, 2017, provides for
an increase of the starting base salary to $39,000 as well as for raises
amounting to approximately 6 percent for the rest of the DTA members,
Superintendent Dave Pruis said.
agreement was reached between the DTA and Duneland Schools administration on
the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 28, Pruis said.
The DTA membership
then ratified the tentative agreement after school on Friday, by a 183-2
vote. “There was overwhelming teacher support” for the new contract, DTA
negotiator and Chesterton High School history teacher Bob DeRuntz told the
closed session, at which administrators and School Board members met with
the DTA negotiating team, did delay the start of Monday’s special meeting by
half an hour. No one, however, subsequently mentioned the delay or alluded
to the subject of that closed session.
Prior to the School
Board’s vote, DeRuntz took a moment from the floor to thank both the
administrators and board members. “We want to express our gratitude to the
administration and the School Board for recognizing the excellence and value
of the teaching staff,” he said.
“We appreciate very
much the time and hard work the members of the bargaining association have
put in over the past few weeks,” Pruis said in turn.
Kroeger, for her part, said that the School Board only ever wanted the same
thing the teachers did. “You don’t need to look very far, as close as this
board, to see your biggest supporters. We understand the value you bring to
the school corporation. We’re your biggest fans. And we want you to be happy
with what’s been done.”
The DTA’s old
seven-year contract expired on July 31.