School District 9 came up a bit in their salary offer and the Eagle Point Education Association came down a little in their request for salary, but neither came away from the 12 hour bargaining session last week with any agreement. They will meet again Feb. 10.
Since last Thursday’s bargaining session, Oregon’s economic picture has declined considerably. The next official forecast is due in March.
The union Bargaining Update sent to their membership said, “for the first time in almost a year, your bargaining team felt the District engaged in true bargaining.”
Tentative agreement was reached on five articles, five of which were current contract language. Those items were: tuition payment, continuing professional development, dues and payroll deduction, just cause, class size and ESEA.
The district increased their base offer from 2 % the first year to 2 ½% the first year. The union decreased their request from 3.65% to 3.5 percent and decreased their insurance request to $955.
Debbie Brudevold, EPEA spokesperson, said the district has the money to give 3% or more in raises. She said each time after settling the last two contracts, the district came back with “found” money. Brudevold said both sides want to settle. She said money is a small part of their concern. She listed three major language items in the contract that could not agree on:
- Transfers of employees (assignments) done at the last minute with no support. EPEA is asking for a meeting with the employee.
- Complaint process. The union says if an employee has a complaint and goes to their principal, as an example, the school secretary (a union employee) sits in and takes notes. The union wants a confidential employee used for those sessions. Mike Remick, speaking on behalf of the school district, said this process has been used for many, many years and has not been an issue.
- Video surveillance. This was an issue during the last contract settlement. Cameras are in every school for safety reasons, said the district.
Under the financial offer made by the district last week: Pay would increase 5.9 percent for most teachers and 7 percent for most classified staff. This includes the 2.5 percent offer, plus 3.4 step for qualifying teachers and 4.5 for qualifying classified. Those not eligible for step would get bonuses for longevity.
The average teacher would make $54,278 annually (average cost to the district would be $82,391) and $25,649 ($44,631 to the district) for classified.
EPEA is asking for a two year contract, due to the economic uncertainty instead of the three year offered by the district. In addition, their offer was 3.5 percent with steps in the first year and CPI-U (no less than 3%) with steps in the second year. They asked for insurance payment of $955 the first year and $1,040 the second year. The district is offering $895 toward insurance in this current year and $915 in 2009-10.
Between now and Feb. 10, the administration will be working on staff adjustments for 2009-10. They told the association bargaining team the district anticipates cutting 35-40 positions to handle the $2 million anticipated state funding cut plus the $2 million they say currently exists.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent