Ratification of the union contract with School District 9 has been through two of the necessary three steps as Eagle Point Education Association and the school district each ratified the contract. The third step was to come before the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council on Monday, Apr. 13. The SOBC is made up of representatives from the various union groups in the area.
According to Debbie Brudevold, who has been a member of the negotiating team for EPEA, 300 of the 400 members voted and she said it was approved by 83 percent of those voting.
The District 9 Board of Directors were unanimous in their approval of the new contract. Mike Remick went through major components of the contract with the board in a work session prior to the regular board meeting.
Highlights of the new contract include:
- It is a three-year contract with an opener “if the union believes the district’s financial situation for 2010-2011 has improved.” The reopener would be salary, benefits and three additional articles. Joint bargaining training was also agreed upon.
- A memo of understanding increases contact time at the high school by 31 minutes to make the school comply with state regulations.
- Video surveillance was defined and clarified and defines “the normal course of using video for student supervision,” and for “corroborative” purposes.
- In order to benefit from the sick leave bank, an employee must have registered as a donor by a specified date. Employees new to education are exempt from contributing for the first three years. And there were several other changes in the Article 11 regarding paid leaves of absence.
- The district raised the amount available for the tuition reimbursement fund from $7,500 to $10,000.
- There were several changes in Article 17, council privileges regarding time that can be spent on bargaining and attending conventions.
- Meal allowances had not been changed for several years, according to Remick. The increases reflect breakfast up from $8 to $10, lunch up from $10 to $12 and dinner from $20 to $22.
- Agreement on health insurance indicates year one of the contract the district will pay $938; years two and three, the figure is $978. Those with double coverage (i.e. husband and wife each covered by insurance either in or out of the district) will have a Section 125 program. This will be in the amount of $1,500 per employee up to 45 employees. The figure increases the more employees opt out. If at the end of the year the money has not been used by the employee, it returns to the district to be used to benefit employees.
- The salary increase remains as proposed and that is 2% increase retroactive to July 1, 2008 plus STEP increase, year three- STEP, longevity and stipend. And the same for year three.
There are several additional changes.
There are a number of changes in extra compensation.
- The district staff will now be able to drive a 15 or less passenger bus and if no driver or vehicle is available or if the district determines it best serves the program, the district may be able to contract out.
The other major topic during the work session was a presentation by Dr. Zaklan on the current financial status based on state forecasts.
He attended a meeting Apr. 3 with Kent Hunsaker from COSA, James Segar, education advisory from the governor’s office, Paul Warner of the legislative revenue office and school business officials. The discussion centered around what state budget figure should be used. The governor’s “hold education harmless” figure was $6.2 million. Today that figure looks more like $5.4 to $5.7 billion. Everyone is waiting for the May 15 forecast.
Figures were presented showing everything from the governor’s $6.2 billion budget down to $5.4 billion.
Thus far the district has cut $2.7 million and could find themselves having to cut anywhere from $2.5 to $5 million additional. Dr. Zaklan said at this point a best guess would be something similar to cuts made in 2002-03.
Valley Ladies were recognized as the regional partners for April. Toni Arnspiger and Liz Anderson represented the Valley Ladies. They are a group of more than 200 women from throughout the valley that have been doing good things for schools, children, homeless and others when a need arises, since 2000. Primary fundraisers are very large yard sales. They are proud not to be a 501c3 because it means every penny can be given away. Nothing has to be spent on bookkeeping, IRS, etc. etc. Some of their donations include annual gifts of $1,000 in school supplies to Prospect, Butte Falls and D9; support of the after school program at URCC, blankets for the needy are given in winter, fans in summer. And there are times when emergency needs are met along with gift cards from Wal-Mart to volunteers at places like Children’s Advocacy. “We care and We Share” is their theme, said Anderson.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent