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Dover Post
  • Capital casts second vote on teacher’s union agreement due to ethics question

  • The Capital Board of Education voted for a second time on Wednesday to approve a labor agreement between the district and the Capital Educators Association, which is the teacher’s union.
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  • The Capital Board of Education voted for a second time on Wednesday to approve a labor agreement between the district and the Capital Educators Association, which is the teacher’s union.
    The board had to vote a second time because a question about conflict of interest was raised.
     At the board’s July 17 meeting when the contract was originally approved, board member Sean Christiansen, whose sister is a teacher in the district, did not recuse himself. The board decided  to vote again on the issue  so that the original vote could not be called into question, according to superintendent Michael Thomas.
     “Originally when we voted for the contract I thought about the 680 dedicated teachers in the Capital School District,” Christiansen said. “Not once have I thought about my sister. She’s worked here for eight years…This was definitely a conflict so in the best interest of the agreement and in the best interest of doing the right thing in the future I recused myself.”
    Prior to the board retaking the vote, a motion was made by board member Brian Lewis to table to matter until next month’s meeting. During the July meeting when the board originally voted to approve the contract, Lewis abstained from voting. He said he had not had adequate time to look over the contracts or be properly informed of the details of the contracts.
    Despite the second vote coming almost a month later, Lewis still objected.
    “I make a motion that this be tabled pending a sit down between myself and the superintendent so he can provide me with the accurate and imperative information that I need,” Lewis said.
    Thomas said that Lewis’s objection was beyond him.
    “He’s had weeks to look at these contracts,” Thomas  said. “Every board member has had plenty of time to read the contract, understand it and they can come in and meet with [the human resources manager or the business manager] and myself…. Everybody has had ample time to understand the contract.”
    Lewis’s motion to table the vote failed and the agreement was later approved.
    Christiansen and another board member Matthew Lindell recused themselves, while board members Kay Dietz-Sass, John Martin Jr. and Lewis voted to approve the contract. Lindell, a former teacher at Dover High School, said he rescued himself to avoid any impropriety.
    Under the terms of the labor agreement approved Wednesday teachers will receive a 2-percent across-the-board pay increase on the locally-funded portion of their salaries this year and a 1-percent raise next year. This year’s raises will cost the district an additional $256,757 and the FY 16 raise compounded with the previous raise will cost the district an additional $138,638, according to Sean Sokolowski, Capital’s business manager.
    Page 2 of 2 - Other changes negotiated in the contract include how the district determines whether teachers will be called in during inclement weather days, insurance coverage for short-term disability and workman’s compensation, according to union president Lisa Whiteman.
     

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