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Ringgold: Deal with teachers near

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Ringgold expects to have a new contract with teachers soon. See Page A2

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Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 12:16 a.m.

Teachers in the Ringgold School District will start the new school year with an old contract.

But the board's chief negotiator predicted a new deal will be worked out soon.

The board met in executive session before its meeting Wednesday to discuss the contract talks.

The most recent contract expired June 30.

Asked about the issues still dividing the two sides, director Bill Stein said, “We're in the middle of negotiations and we promised not to discuss particulars.”

“We are very optimistic about negotiations,” added board President Mariann Bulko.

Stein, the board's chief negotiator, was also optimistic about the outcome of the talks.

“There will be a contract,” Stein said. “The teachers and administration are working very diligently toward that goal.”

Bulko expressed optimism about the start of the new school year Monday.

“I'm very excited about the start of the new school year,” Bulko said during her president's report. “I hope the teachers and the staff give us a chance to show we're headed in the right direction.”

One thing new for the district will be free breakfasts for all elementary school students. That program will eventually be expanded to students in all grades, said Jason Foreman, district manager of school services for new food service firm Avi Food Systems. He said free breakfasts could be extended to middle and high school students within three months.

The board also approved a policy that would permit elementary and middle school students to charge up to five meals after running out of money in their lunch accounts. Beyond that, students will be given alternative lunches made up of a cold sandwich, fruit and drink.

The board hired three teachers: Iris S. Baron, special education teacher at the high school, $40,500; Lauren L. Bowser, French teacher at the high school, $39,100; and Kelly A. Balush, $43,695. It approved a substitute list for various positions and approved extracurricular leaders.

The board named Tammy Gaffey head teacher at Ringgold Elementary School South and Diana Kristobek head teacher at Ringgold Elementary School North, each at an added salary of $1,498. They will be responsible for assisting principals with student discipline.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or

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