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N. TONAWANDA TEACHERS CLOSE TO A CONTRACT PACT INCLUDES 24% HIKE IN SALARIES OVER 3 YEARS

The North Tonawanda School District and its teachers tentatively have agreed on a contract that, sources say, calls for salary increases totaling about 24 percent over three years.

Members of North Tonawanda United Teachers, which represents the 390 teachers in the district's high school, two middle and six elementary schools, ratified the agreement by a show of hands at a meeting Friday morning in the Lowry Middle School auditorium.

"It wasn't unanimous, but it was a majority. Teachers were pleased with it," said Linda W. Roach, president of the teachers union.

She would not reveal the wage settlement, pending expected approval by the School Board next week.

The median annual salary for North Tonawanda teachers is $39,446, according to the state Education Department.

Schools Superintendent John H. George and board President Chester R. Klimek also declined to comment on the contract terms.

All three, however, hailed the tentative pact as a milestone in that it is the first settlement of a North Tonawanda teachers contract before the previous contract expired. The current contract expires at midnight June 30.

Ms. Roach, George and Klimek described the pact as "streamlined," with outdated language weeded out. Ms. Roach said the overhaul involved changes in 19 of the contract's 20 articles.

Among them:

Reducing salary steps from 30 to 21.

Lengthening of the school day for teachers by a few minutes -- to a half hour in a few cases -- depending on schedules, and the addition of one school day a year, to a total of 187. Under the daily time change, all teachers will work a seven-hour day with more flexibility in scheduling.

Shared decision-making through creation of a labor/management committee.

Streamlined procedures for handling grievances and disciplining teachers.

Health benefits, some concessions on both sides.

Klimek predicts School Board approval of the pact Friday, when the board also is expected to adopt a 1990-91 budget.

Klimek applauded the past 14 months as a period of labor harmony in the district with the settlement of six labor contracts -- assuming the teachers contract receives final approval.

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