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Teachers in the Auburn school district are close to getting a new contract. Or are they?

The Auburn Teachers Association last week ratified a tentative contract with the Auburn school district, but superintendent of schools JD Pabis said that the district isn’t prepared to approve a new contract and isn’t even planning to discuss it right away.

The most recent deal for Auburn teachers expired in 2008, and the teachers say they’re OK with a new contract giving them two years worth of retroactive raises at 3.45 percent and raises of 3 percent for the next two years. They’ll also pay 15 percent of their health-insurance costs and agree to a retirement incentive that would kick in next summer.

But after more than two years of bargaining, Pabis said he was surprised to learn that the teachers had ratified a new contract. “There are still some items that are not clear,” he said, without elaborating.

But teachers association president Sally Jo Widmer said that there isn’t anything major left to work out, aside from tweaking some of the language in the contract.

If Pabis still has concerns, fine, but the contract must be awfully close to being a done deal or the teachers wouldn’t have ratified it.

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Why, then, doesn’t Pabis express more urgency to see the job completed?

The school district needs to work out whatever details remain and get this thing settled. And if Pabis is the one standing in the way, we again remind the members of the board that Pabis works for you — not the other way around.

Auburn teachers have been without a contract for more than two years. Ratifying their new contract needs to get on the board’s agenda now.

 

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