Board, BCEA approve pact

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE —  Any concern that rumored contractual rifts between the state’s largest school district and its teachers’ union might drift south has been quickly alleviated.

By a unanimous vote, the Bullitt County Public School Board accepted a new four-year contract with the Bullitt County Education Association.

Parties for each side said that the few issues were quickly worked out.

“We’ve worked very well together and all the focus was on the kids,” said BCEA president Michele Davis. “Our contract is very strong and a lot of our rights are protected.”

During the negotiations, Davis said no major issues arose.

“It is nice to sit there and be able to focus on what we can do to best serve the kids,” said Davis.

Board member Roger Hayes asked about the number of teachers voting on the contract.

Although Davis did not know the exact count, she said 92 percent of those voting were in favor of the contract renewal. The organization has around 600 members.

Superintendent Keith Davis, no relation to the BCEA president, said his administration has had a good relationship with the teachers’ organization.

“When we have issues, even if they are not specifically contract related, we talk them over and try to address it in a mutually respectful manner,” said Davis. “It seems to work better for kids than have these public battles that tends to undermine public confidence in their children’s education.”

While understanding that the BCEA officers have a role to protect their members, Davis said the talks have always been very reasonable.

“We share a mutual interest in maintaining the dignity and improving the reputation of the teaching profession,” said the superintendent.

One issue which Davis felt hurt the students was the “claiming” issue on how teachers could fill vacancies. That was negotiated out of the last contract.

The superintendent said he receives a lot of feedback on a regular basis from teachers – both in writing and in normal conversations.

“Teachers do not seem to have a problem approaching me or giving forthright responses because I think they know I do value what they have to say,” said Davis.

The new contract will run through 2017.