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Contract Bargaining Sandbox

The bargaining teams for Eugene School District 4J and the Eugene Education Association met on Thursday, November 2, at the EEA office, starting at 4:00 p.m. and concluding about 12:30 a.m.

Over the course of the night the teams exchanged proposals that made progress on the remaining issues under discussion, coming closer together on proposed salary increases, insurance contributions, elementary teacher preparation time, and instructional hours.

In these final stages of bargaining for a new contract, the district remains focused on achieving a fair settlement that will:

  • Maintain a sustainable budget that holds the line on class sizes
  • Provide teaching and learning time that is adequate, equitable and consistent, regardless of zip code
  • Continue competitive compensation with salary increases for every teacher every year

 

Comparison of most recent proposals (Nov. 2)

Eugene School District 4J  (“District” / “4J”)  Eugene Education Association (“Union” / “Association”) Difference
Salary increases COLA salary increases for every licensed employee:
2% in 2017–18, effective after agreement is ratified
1.7% in 2018–19
1.8% in 2019–20
5.5% total

Salary step increases (3.7%) each year for step-eligible licensed employees

Total salary increase over 3 years of contract:
16.6% for teachers and specialists moving up salary scale
5.5% for teachers and specialists already at top of salary scale

Cost increase for COLA:
• ~$8.3 million over the 3 years of the contract
• ~$4.1 million each year after the contract expires

COLA salary increases for every licensed employee:
2.1% in 2017–18, retroactive to July 1
2.15% in 2018–19
2.2% in 2019–20
6.45% total

Salary step increases (3.7%) each year for step-eligible employees

Total salary increase over 3 years of contract:
17.55% for teachers and specialists moving up salary scale
6.45% for teachers and specialists already at top of salary scale

Cost increase for COLA:
• ~$9.5 million over the 3 years of the contract
• ~$
4.8 million each year after the contract expires

Salary increases over 3 years:
• Step-eligible: 16.60% vs. 17.55%
• Top-step: 5.50% vs. 6.45%

COLA effective: December (if agreement ratified in November) or retroactive to July

Cost increase:
• 3-year cost: $1.2 million difference
• Continuing annual cost after contract: $0.7 million difference

Insurance District would continue to contribute $1,200 each month for insurance costs for each full-time licensed employee, or $14,400 per year Similar
Elementary prep time

Prep time during the school day would increase from 90 minutes (three 30-minute periods) per week to 120 minutes (four 30-minute periods) per week.

Elementary teachers would continue to have a total of at least 300 minutes of preparation time per week, including one 60-minute block of uninterrupted preparation time.

SSD members would continue to have 210 minutes of prep time per week outside the student day, including one 60-minute block of uninterrupted preparation time, and in addition to the daily case management time added in 2015–16.

Cost increase: $850,000 per year

 

Similar
Calendar, schedule and instruction time

Standard schedule for all schools, by level   

Schedule may include student late start, early release, and/or full-day release days, consistent across all schools at a given school level (elementary, middle, high).

Parameters for instructional time: 

Minimum: State-required minimums, with no application of credits for recess, parent-teacher conferences or professional development.  

Maximum: 
• Elementary: 923 hours
• Middle: 950 hours
• High: 1,015 hours

Exception: 
Unless EEA agrees
Unless school days are added with extra pay
• Or unless a change is necessary to meet state minimum hour requirements

Standard schedule for all schools, by level   

Schedule shall include student late start, early release, and/or full-day release days, consistent across all schools at a given school level (elementary, middle, high).

Parameters for instructional time:   

Minimum: No bottom limit stated  

Maximum:
• Elementary: 918 hours
• Middle: 924 hours
• High: 1,008 hours

Exception: 
• The first 2 days of weather-related school closure in any year will not be made up. 

Instructional hours: 

Minimum: No bottom limit stated in EEA proposal

Maximum: 
• Elementary: 5 hours difference
• Middle: 26 hours difference
• High: 7 hours difference

Exceptions: 
• 4J proposal mentions potential for future adjustments
• EEA proposal would not make up first 2 snow days

 

Current state minimum instructional hour requirements:
• Elementary: 900 hours
• Middle: 900 hours (though the midpoint between elementary and high school, for these critical transitional grades, would be 945 hours, and some 4J middle schools currently provide more than 950 hours)
• High: 990 hours (966 for seniors)

Paid work days Adding paid days: Days may be added to the calendar—with extra pay for teachers and other licensed staff at the per diem rate—if future economic conditions allow.

Bargaining furlough days: If the district needs to consider reducing the number of paid work days due to a revenue shortfall, the expedited bargaining process under Oregon employment relations rules may be used.

No proposal Paid work days:
4J proposal provides streamlined process to increase paid work days in calendar, or bargain furlough days to reduce paid work days in calendar
Reserve fund  Licensed insurance reserve (reserve fund jointly managed by 4J and EEA) currently is over $3 million.

Reserve caps: Starting in 2020, fund is capped at $1,500,000 if insurance coverage is offered with composite rates, and $2,500,000 if insurance coverage is offered with tiered rates. Excess will revert to the district’s general fund. 

 Same
Reserve transfers Reserve transfers: Transfer $750,000 to the district’s general fund in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to help offset contract costs. Reserve transfers: Transfer $600,000 to the district’s general fund in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to help offset contract costs. Difference of $150,000 per year

 

Contract changes already tentatively agreed (as of Nov. 2)

The district and union bargaining teams already have tentatively agreed on numerous contract changes, including: 

Special education:

  • IEP/504 compensation pool for non-SSD staff: Increased from $20,000 to $30,000 annually, up to 6 hours per non-SSD member, for participating in IEP or 504 meetings during planning days, during preparation time, or outside the work day. Provides for future increase in compensation if there is a significant increase in IEP and 504 plans.
  • IEP compensation pool for SSD staff (NEW): $30,000 annually, up to 6 hours per SSD member, for participating in IEP meetings during planning days, during preparation time, or outside the work day.
  • Compensation for special education teachers: Special education teachers receive 5 days of release time and a stipend equal to 2 days at their per diem rate. The release time (previously half of the release time) may be converted to the substitute rate.
  • Stipend for speech language pathologists: SSD licensed employees assigned to provide speech and language services will receive 3 days of release time and a stipend equal to 3 (previously 2) days at their per diem rate. The release time (previously half of the release time) may be converted to the substitute rate.
  • Stipend for other SSD specialists: School psychologists, special education consultants, autism consultants, behavior consultants, physical therapists and occupational therapists, and (newly added) assistive technology specialist will receive a stipend equal to 2 (previously 1.5) days at their per diem rate.
  • Case management time: Post-high-school-transition special education teachers will have case management time of 1 period per day (increase from 30 minutes per day).

Elementary school: 

  • Grade-blended classrooms: An elementary teacher who was previously expecting to teach a single grade and is required to teach a grade-blended classroom, with notice on or after August 1, may receive a 2% stipend for the year.
  • Report cards: During the 2017-18 school year, the Director of Elementary Education will engage elementary teachers and administrators for the purpose of streamlining the elementary report card and reducing the workload associated with report card preparation. EEA may select half of the 24 licensed committee members and decisions will be made by consensus.
  • Prep time: Not yet officially tentatively agreed, but the district’s and union’s current proposals are in alignment to increase prep time during the school day by 30 minutes per week.

Leave time:

  • Leave time provisions streamlined and clarified. 
  • Sick leave and family leave combined: Currently: 80 hours of sick leave and 16 hours of family leave annually. Future: 96 hours of sick leave annually, up to 40 hours may be used for family leave purposes. Existing family leave balances will be credited into the employee’s sick leave account.
  • Sick leave will be credited monthly rather than annually, to simplify bookkeeping for the district and improve clarity for employees.

Licensed insurance reserve fund:

  • This is a district reserve fund jointly managed by EEA and 4J. The district makes contributions to the fund for every member, whether or not the member enrolls in an insurance plan offered by the district. When a member decides not to enroll in health insurance and waives coverage, there is no outgoing payment for insurance premiums. Despite past transfers out of the reserve fund to subsidize contract cost increases, and some recent use to subsidize licensed employees’ insurance premiums, the account balance has continued to increase. The balance currently is over $3 million.
  • Starting in 2020, the fund will be capped at $1,500,000 if insurance coverage is offered with composite rates, and $2,500,000 if insurance coverage is offered with tiered rates. Excess will revert to the district’s general fund.

Assessments:

  • Formative assessments: Outdated contract provision updated to address development and sharing of formative assessments, release days changed to extra duty pay, $30,000 provided each year to compensate members for creating standards-based formative assessments.
  • IB assessments: $34,900 (was $24,099) available for IB assessment compensation, increasing annually based on COLA. 20% distributed to IHS and North Eugene teachers of social studies and language arts. 80% distributed to teachers of subjects other than social studies and language arts at Churchill, North Eugene, Sheldon and South Eugene, based on number of students registered for IB tests in math, biology, chemistry, physics and foreign language.

Athletics and activities:

  • Dance and cheer: New, higher-compensation stipend created for competitive dance and cheer team coaches, distinct from non-competitive dance and cheer teams.

Faculty meetings:

  • EEA members are professionals and are expected to attend staff meetings as a professional duty. Previous language “members will make attendance at these meetings a high priority” has been changed to “members may be excused from these meetings for good cause and by prior approval of the administrator. Consideration will be given to mandatory online meetings and teacher evaluation goal planning.”

Group grievances:

  • Group grievances will be directed to the Human Resources director before filing with superintendent. This change is to resolve grievances at the lowest possible level, allowing administration to be informed, respond and seek to address issues before they are escalated.

Work days:

  • School calendar and schedule: Not yet officially tentatively agreed, and details are still under discussion, but the district’s and union’s proposals are in alignment to eliminate the site-based scheduling process and develop a consistent calendar that provides aligned schedules and equitable instruction time by level.
  • Weather makeup days: Calendar may be changed to make up hazardous weather days without the 60-day notice to the union normally required in calendar development.
  • Holidays: Previously, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated as an unpaid non-contract day, and Presidents Day was designated as a paid holiday. These designations have been reversed. No immediate change in the calendar is expected, but this allows Presidents Day to be used as a hazardous weather makeup day if needed in future years.
  • Professional development: Summer professional development may be required during the three days immediately prior to the work year—with extra pay at the per diem rate, and with prior notice by spring break. Any member who has a legitimate pre-scheduled conflict will be excused from this assignment upon notice to his or her administrator.

We appreciate the progress made in all these areas so far and look forward to a successful resolution of the remaining issues.

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