D9-EPEA negotiations progress, but 3rd mediation is March 16

District 9 labor  negotiations continued Feb. 23 when bargaining teams met with the state mediator again. Issues remained after an 11- hour session and another session is set for Mar. 26.  According to a summary of the session from the district, four new agreements and a no-layoff suggestion marked progress in talks. The agreements cover employee evaluation, work year, transportation and class size.

The district offered a no-layoff suggestion along with a package of contract articles that included salaries and benefits. If the union agreed, the district would guarantee no employee at a school site would lose a job by layoff through the 2012-13 school year. This provision would cover only bargaining unit members assigned to a school site.

The package would provide a salary of more than $55,000 a year for the average teacher plus more than $25,000 in benefits. The offer would pay the average classified employee more than $26,000 annually plus more than $17,000 in benefits.  The majority of employees have already received step increases this year. Pay and benefit levels for employees remain in the top half in the region.

The district said its offer would protect jobs while increasing spending on retirement benefits and step raises by about $1.8 million over two years. The offer also would protect school days class sizes and instructional time.

Agreements were reached: work week- the district withdrew proposals to limit overtime and changes in in-service and teacher work days. Contract language remains with a 38 week work year for teachers, up to 20 vacation days and 11 paid holidays for 12-month employees.

District withdrew proposal to subcontract transportation without union agreement.

Union withdrew proposal to limit class size and provide extra pay to teachers with classes over limits.

A union concession will mean classified employees will have a nine month probation period versus current 90 days. The district concession says employees will retain right not to provide written evaluation of colleagues’ job performance. Both parties worked on a better definition of the representative in meetings over programs of assistance.

The district; offer still provides time for parents to meet with teachers and increases time teachers are available to provide instruction. The district’s offer will end the current practice of counting parent conferences and some professional development as instructional time.

Employees offer will allow flexible work schedules for teachers, plus guaranteed time for preparation. Teachers will have a work day of 7 ½ hours, arriving 15 minutes before students and leaving 15 minutes after students depart. The district will provide $5,000 for each teacher who pursues advanced certification in reading or English for speakers of other languages.

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