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ALPINE TEACHERS HEAD BACK TO CLASS BUT WITHOUT CONTRACT

Alpine School District's teachers have gone back to classes - not with a contract but in "good faith."

The Alpine Education Association's negotiating team met with school district officials for nearly four hours on Aug. 21 - two days before classes started for all of the district's students and just a day before seventh-graders started classes - to hammer out a tentative contract agreement. That agreement would pay the teachers for all the teaching and preparation days this school year.AEA officials recommend that the teachers ratify the proposed contract. Teachers will meet this weekend to discuss it and are expected to approve it by Monday.

"I feel very confident that it will pass," said Nile Miner, president of the AEA and a teacher at Orchard Elementary in Orem. "There's a very good money settlement and they'll be getting the same insurance benefits."

Though terms of the agreement won't be discussed until after the contract has been ratified by both the teachers and the Alpine Board of Education, Miner did say it will be similar to teacher contracts in the nearby Nebo and Provo school districts, which inked their teachers to one-year deals prior to the start of the new school year. The deals will give those teachers a nearly 7 percent increase package, including base salaries; increases for levels of education and experience; and insurance and other benefits.

Besides a base pay rate increase, teachers asked district officials to use money they saved when they switched insurance carriers to go to district employees.