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Schools, union talk about raises

Negotiators for the Hernando school district's non-instructional employees told district officials Thursday that they want a 25-cents-an-hour raise for each employee, plus an increase based on employees' years of service.

In turn, the School Board's negotiators offered a wage increase of 16 cents per hour per employee for the 1996-97 school year.

Last year, the board approved a 26-cents-an-hour raise for each member of the Hernando United School Workers union, which includes cafeteria workers, bus drivers and custodians.

Larry Spencer, the school district's human resource director and chief negotiator, called Thursday's two-hour meeting _ the first for the two sides _ a success.

"I think we've gotten off to a good start," Spencer said.

That is more than can be said about the contract talks between the district and the teachers union.

Negotiations between the district and the teachers union broke down last month after the third meeting because the two sides could not agree on the date of the next meeting. An impasse was lifted once the group decided to meet again Aug. 13.

Meanwhile, non-instructional workers will return to the bargaining table with district officials next week with counterproposals.

The union did not provide details Thursday of its proposal for raises based on years of service. Those types of raises have been given to non-instructional employees in the past, but were discontinued a few years ago.

In addition to across-the-board raises, discussion at the next meeting will include the union's proposal to give head custodians a 60-cents-an-hour supplement. Spencer has offered an annual $500 supplement for all the head custodians.

The union proposal also includes:

A paid 30-minute lunch for all full-time employees who work six hours or more a day, with the exception of bus drivers and bus aides.

Four additional paid holidays for full-time employees who work less than 239 days a year.

Full benefits for all employees regardless of the number of hours they work per day.

A raise of 25 cents an hour for substitute employees.