District 9 and the Eagle Point Education Association (EPEA) held a 10 ½ hour bargaining session on Oct. 6. It started at 3 p.m. and continued until 1:30 a.m. They agreed on two items during that period of time. Those items were travel allowance and transportation.
Travel allowance for meals was increased by $2, bringing the allowance for breakfast to $10, lunch $12 and dinner $22. Motel remains at $85.
Working conditions (Article 5 in the current contract) was discussed at length with no resolution.
The district is asking that Wednesday be a regular work day even though students are released early. They want work hours to be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. And they are seeking to modify the wording by saying “Teachers recognize it is their responsibility to attend professional development opportunities and attend to professional obligations which may fall outside the regular work day, such as IEP meetings, parent meetings, open house, faculty meetings, staff development on Wednesdays”.
EPEA countered with “Teachers will not be required to perform these obligations outside the normal workday more than twice a month nor more than 30 minutes beyond the normal workday”.
Current contract allows elementary teachers 1-1/2 hours of preparation time daily, 45 minutes of it uninterrupted unless there is a need for some interruptions such as employee meetings, parents conferences and the like. EPEA is asking with the 1-1/2 hours to have 45 minutes uninterrupted and within the student day.
The district has added that it agrees to create an ad hoc committee to study how it can better support preparation time with an equal number of district and association members.
At the high school level, the district is requesting the ability (if it decides) to establish a program with the majority of the staff that could be an added program beyond six periods, but within the workday, such as an advisor program or guide group.
Phoenix High School has a guide group that, according to school administration, has been quite successful. It has involved about a dozen students and an instructor, enabling the instructor to become acquainted with the student and his or her various classes. When parent conference time arrived, Phoenix High School says they have over 90 percent turnout from parents.
The union and district do not agree on health and safety issues.
Sick leave and the sick bank is another area where neither group has been able to reach an agreement. Additional differences will be reported in upcoming issues.
The next mediation is scheduled Nov. 3. The district and EPEA agree to dates beyond Nov. 3 if an agreement is not reached on that date.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent