• Education, NSRF Meetings 17.03.2014
    Dear Friends,

    Opening contract negotiations to public observation is a huge step in increasing transparency as approximately 80% of all expenses in some way tie to compensation.

    Please take the time to attend and listen to future negotiating sessions: Mondays, March 17, March 31, April 7, April 14, April 28, and May 5, all sessions run from 4–8 p.m.  in the fifth-floor board room at the Education Center, 1829 Denver West Drive.

    Monday, March 10 – First Session

    The Bargaining Team was made up of individuals from district management representing the school board and JCEA, representing teachers, in equal numbers.  Dennis J. Dougherty mediated the process. About seventy people came to watch. There was no disruption or demonstration during the session, which we applaud—there weren’t even any “quiet fingers”.

    In addition to compensation, which was only briefly touched on in this first session, each group brought two issues to the table.

    • Class size (Article 20):   The school board brought this item to the table. Both the school board team and the association expressed concern about the impact of class size on student achievement. There was productive back and forth with both sides expressing the need for flexibility and a willingness to be creative regarding solutions. Both teams recognized that allowing individual schools to have more flexibility might improve student achievement and both recognized that smaller class sizes may be more relevant in elementary grades. Both groups also recognized the impact of teacher effectiveness on the class size equation. Future conversations will look at creative ways to address the issue of class size.   
    • Extension of the current contract (Article 3):  JCEA brought a request to extend the current contract renegotiation date, maintaining that doing so would give educators peace of mind that their contract would not change even beyond the current expiration in 2015.  The JCEA contract is typically rewritten every four years with only a couple of items renegotiated in the intervening years. Extending the timeline for the contract would constitute a significant change.  Both sides agreed that a stable working environment is important, however, the district representatives emphasized that there were other ways in which organizations could create that stable environment.  Future conversations will focus on the best ways to create the desired security and stability.
    • Leaves for teachers (Article 35):   The school board brought this issue to the table. The goal is to balance teacher needs with having them in classrooms.  Holding jobs for two years puts a burden on other teachers and on administrators. The district asked that miscellaneous leaves be limited to one year.  They were asking for changes for other types of leaves including those for association business on similar grounds.  The mediator, Mr. Dougherty, asked the team to think about the issue for the next session.
    • Work load related issues:  JCEA’s final priority concerned teacher workloads and assuring it is organized so that the time teachers have to spend with children is maximized.  All sides agreed this was an important issue.

    The Bargaining Team then discussed compensation related items including the following options:

    • Giving staff Steps (paying for years of service) and levels (pay for more education) – which includes raises to some staff but not all
    • Giving staff Step increase only – which gives raises for some staff but not all
    • Giving staff Cost of Living raises (COLA’s) – which every employee would get
    • Paying performance based bonuses

    The agenda for the next meeting was set. It includes a budget presentation, health care presentation, and time to work on the issues of workload, teacher leaves and more.

    Sessions were originally set to go until 9 P.M. However, the Bargaining Team decided that future sessions will end by 8 P.M.

    Best Regards,

    Sheila Atwell,
    Executive Director

    Posted by Dana West @ 10:54 pm for Education, NSRF Meetings |

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