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Youngstown teacher contract talks to continue as classes resume

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - After nearly five hours of talks, Youngstown's Board of Education and its teachers' union released a joint statement Friday night, saying they're going to extend their current contract and keep negotiating as the school year starts.

When talks began at 4:00 in the afternoon, more than 100 members of the Youngstown Education Association gathered outside Choffin Career Center as bargaining teams from the union and Youngstown City School District entered into another round of negotiations.
 
Union leaders a with membership of close to 500 teachers says that over the years they have agreed to many concessions and at this point they do not want to move "backwards" when it comes to wages and health benefits.
 
YEA spokesperson Paula Valentini says, "As somebody who's been teaching for over 25 years I could tell you we started out as being the highest paid districts when I started teaching and now we're at the bottom."
 
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at Youngstown Schools, Karen Green says, "We want it to be a win-win situation. We know that times are hard and difficult for everyone in the valley. So we're willing to work. I'm hopeful we'll come to some resolution."
 
Valentini says the teachers believe the funds are available for raises this time around.
 
"The board has approved administrative raises. Some of those would take about 14% wage increases over the next two years. We're not asking for anything like that. We just want to be treated fairly."
 
But Green explains, "When people change positions, for example you can go from 219 days to 248 days or 161 days, that puts you on a different pay scale and so there were changes in the administration where their jobs changed and they went to a different salary range."
 
YEA's last three year contract expired in June. It has been in talks with the district since Spring. Both sides are hopeful they will have an agreement in place by September 3rd when school begins.
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Stay connected with wfmj.com and 21 News for more on this developing story.
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