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Report on teacher negotiation bargaining

The School Boards that represent the six Districts within the AddisonNortheast Supervisory Union have been negotiating for the last year with the Teachers Union for a contract that will cover this school year (2010/2011). While there are a few unresolved issues concerning, the Boards believe there are three very large issues that are keeping us from reaching a settlement.

• AUTOMATIC SALARY INCREASES

As in virtually all school districts within the state, our teachers are paid based on a salary schedule. The schedule sets salaries based on a teacher's years of experience and level of education. A teacher's years of experience are recognized by what are called "step" increases. A teacher moves one step on the schedule for each year of experience until he/she reaches the top of the schedule. On our schedule, these step increases are $1,606 and currently cost the Districts an average 2.5% of total salaries. This structure is typical of teacher contracts throughout the state.

The problem is, the Boards are required to pay these step increases "automatically," even when a settlement has not been reached for a new contract. In other words, the Districts have to pay these increases even after the old Union contract has expired. We have to pay these automatic increases even if the Boards believe the amount is too high given the current economy and available revenues. Therefore, teachers have been receiving these increases since the start of this school year, even though we have not reached a settlement over a new contract.

The Boards have proposed contract language that would make these step increases part of negotiations, rather than having them paid automatically. Quite simply, the Boards believe that it is unfair for the taxpayers to have to pay salary increases without giving the Boards the opportunity to negotiate over those increases.

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