CPS, Teachers Union Agreement Up for Approval

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COLUMBIA - A collective bargaining agreement between Columbia Public Schools and the teachers union will be up for final approval at the Columbia School Board meeting Monday night. The two groups came to an agreement on May 1.

Among other issues taken up in the agreement, the compromise restores teachers' salaries that were lost when the district froze salaries during the 2009-2010 school year. It will cost the district about $850,000 to make up for those frozen salaries.

In a previous interview with KOMU, CPS teacher Jennifer Black Cone said there were 16 other issues that did not make it into the agreement, including a longer lunch period along with 250 minutes of planning time per week.

It is just the second time CPS and the teachers union have negotiated a collective bargaining agreement. CPS Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said the talks are a good way to keep the district and teachers happy.

"Obviously any time that you're able to talk about everything from salary to working conditions, those are good things," Baumstark said. "We want there to be open lines of communications between both parties."

Baumstark said she expects the school board to approve the agreement.

"There's trust in the process, and we've come to an agreement between both parties," Baumstark said.

In addition to the agreement, the board will also vote on amending this year's budget and discussing the 2014-15 school year budget.