COOPERSVILLE, Mich. — After working without a contract since the beginning of the school year, a tentative deal has been reached for teachers at Coopersville Area Public Schools.
The exact details of the potential compromise were not released Monday.
However, the union has been fighting for months to get instructors a 4.5% increase in their salaries, saying teachers in Coopersville are the lowest paid in all of Ottawa County.
After learning about a possible deal, some teachers spoke out at Monday’s school board meeting to address the issue.
“This is the longest I think that this city has hurt. It has, and we don’t want it to, because it is a good school. You are all good, you are all valuable teachers,” said former teacher Heidi Tagg.
The president of the union wouldn’t discuss the potential contract deal but said both sides had to do some giving and taking.
“I think both sides have been able to come to an agreement. I think that the teachers will certainly weigh out the pros, as well as the cons, and I am hopeful for ratification,” said union president Kent Bollinger.
During the meeting, the school board read a statement, saying in part:
“It is easy to assume that disagreement during negotiations is a bad thing. We do not believe that is true. In fact, we believe that good ideas and innovative solutions occur when we push each other to find the best possible options. If everyone agrees all the time, nothing really changes. And, when all sides work hard to find unique solutions; that is when positive change occurs.
We believe that our community shares a desire for excellence in the Coopersville Area Public Schools. We want every child to receive an education of excellence. We believe that we all want our school system to reflect the values of the community- this means treating each other with mutual respect, even when we disagree.
As a board, we are committed to follow the law when it comes to negotiating with our respective bargaining groups. We have reached a tentative agreement today with our Coopersville Education Association, the union that represents the teachers.”
The next step in this process is to make sure both sides agree on the potential deal, then ratify the agreement. If that goes smoothly, a board vote will then take place.