Another session of contract negotiations between School District 9 and the Eagle Point Education Association was held May 1. It concluded at 10:25 p.m. with no settlement.
The next session is scheduled for Monday, May 7 at 1 p.m. with the state mediator present. The union plans to strike on Tuesday, May 8 at 6 a.m. if the last minute session on May 7 fails to reach a settlement.
EPEA says negotiations are far apart on:
• Article 5- Prep time and classroom instruction time. Can’t find language to guard prep time from excessive interruption. D9 wants to add minutes to secondary instruction day without additional money or workload adjustment.
• Article 22- Prorating insurance for part time staff. EPEA does not want to give D9 incentive to cut staff hours to save on insurance costs. They say they want to keep jobs and money in the community.
• Article 2- Subcontracting. EPEA says D9 refuses to extend a memo of understanding to match length of contract. Union wants it extended beyond the summer of 2013.
D9 made yet another offer at the May 1 session. It included:
• Guarantee teachers will maintain current level of prep time within an 8-hr. day along with an increase in instructional time at the middle and high school level.
• Increase to $12,216 per year in amount D9 pays for each fulltime employee’s insurance. In February the District offered $11,736. In April they offered $11,976. The May 1 offer is another $240 a year for each full-time employee from the April offer. . This is an increase of $480 per fulltime employee since February.
• Cost of living pay increase of .5% in January 2013 and another .5% increase in January 2014.
The EPEA rejected the offers.
According to D9, during a bargaining session EPEA said they favor cutting school days in favor of higher pay and benefits.
The May 1 URI story on page 2 highlights a number of prior offers.
Check our website on May 7 and 8 for an update on whether there is a strike or a settlement.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent