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Negotiations Update #3 Wages and Benefits - 12.7.16

Dear Colleagues,


So far I have tried to lay out what we have agreed upon in negotiations as well as some areas where we have differences.  Specifically, in the last update I spoke to evaluation, training, and time.

In November we helped pass a 5.5 mill levy for school operating funds.  Those additional dollars, over $5 million per year, will start to be collected in January 2017.  Surprisingly, when we returned to the bargaining table at the end of November we were informed by Treasurer Gainer that the district does not have any money.  In fact, it would be all they could do to scrape by giving us a 3 years contract with no raise in the first year and 1% in each of the next 2 years.  Anything beyond that would be impossible.

I have never heard the District in negotiations say they have money.  In fact, they always state that they don’t have any money.  Needless to say, I was not really surprised by this announcement.

We do not accept 0%,1%,1% for raises.  This would mean that we will have accepted 5.5% in raises over 8 years – the same period of time that STRS has taken out an additional 4% from our salaries.

With this revelation, we decided that the Board could probably not sign a 3 year contract as we had hoped, but that we could probably work together on a 2 year deal.  At this point in negotiations we are demanding the equivalent of 2% raises for both the first and second year of the contract.

Overload Compensation:

The District would like to eliminate the High School overload compensation that is in our contract.  This is a small recognition that it is not ideal to have more than 100 students on a caseload.  Originally the District wanted to increase the number of students needed.  Our proposal was to expand it for all classrooms district wide.  Our proposal was for any teacher who had more than 22 students in a class would be compensated per child per day, thus sending a message that we believe that smaller class size is important.  In our most recent packaging of items in negotiations we proposed that we would agree to eliminate the overload compensation altogether if ALL classes throughout the District had an absolute cap of 22 students.


We believe that the pay scale for our ancillaries is too low and does not recognize education.  We have proposed adding lanes for a Bachelor Degree, BA plus 20 hours, Masters Degree, and MA plus 20 hours.  The District has not included any changes in to the ancillary pay scale in their current proposal.


We proposed improvements to our medical benefits.  We would like to add hearing exams and hearing aids, increase vision benefits for both exams and glasses, and increase dental annual limits.  The District determined what they believe these increases will cost and proposed that we raise our yearly contribution to the premiums from $550 single to $675, and $1500 family to $1700.  We believe that the increases in benefits justify the increase in contribution. 


What happens in negotiations is that once we start talking about money issues most everything else becomes much less important.  Our current proposals no longer contain many of the items that we originally considered important, but we had to prioritize.  For instance, we wanted to increase “overnight pay” for teachers who are out of town with students.  It has been the same forever and we want it to be a formula indexed to base salary.  It is not a make a break item so it has been withdrawn.  The same is true for many other issues; improvements to severance, retirement enhancement and incentive, differentials based on professional license, and several others.

In Union,

Ari Klein, President

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