LMSB posts contract summary on district website
MANDATA - Line Mountain School Board released a summary of the district's settlement contract to the Line Mountain Education Association (LMEA) on the district website Monday, detailing what the school board members are offering the 110 teachers in the union.
The information was released to show members of the public that the school board has been fair in the ongoing contracting negotiations with the teachers union, explained board President Troy Laudenslager.
"The district went public with our latest proposal, because we have been accused of stalling and taking advantage of the generosity of the teachers. We wanted the public to truly know how well our teachers are taken care of and what the minimum expectations are," he said.
Teachers have been working on an expired contract since June 2012 after a one-year extension of a five-year contract that ended June 30, 2011.
Last week, the teachers announced they will be "working to the rule," which means they will not volunteer their time for duties not described in their contract and will only work during contracted hours.
LMEA President and teacher Mark Shearer, who could not be reached Monday for further comment, previously said the purpose of the new policy is to demonstrate to the school board the amount of work they do voluntarily - both before and after the work day - for which they do not receive nor expect any compensation.
The board members are frustrated because they feel they've been demonized by the union, especially after another unsuccessful negotiation meeting Thursday, Laudenslager said.
Based on recent events, the entire board decided to release the district's latest offer, he said.
"I believe the taxpayers are the ones being taken advantage of by a union that feels they have given in too quickly in prior negotiations," Laudenslager said. "It is my belief that they feel holding out as long as possible will maximize what they receive in return. The union never seems satisfied with what they have, and they are always asking for more. At what point is enough enough?"
In the district's five-year proposal, which would be retroactive from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2017, the average salary increase for anyone moving a step forward on the scale would be $1,670 in the first year. In the second year, it would be $1,920; the third year, $2,020; the fourth year, $2,120; and the fifth year, $2,220.
Based on a 17-step salary matrix, teachers below the highest step are guaranteed an average step movement raise of $1,670 even during salary freezes.
In addition to the step increases, the district also proposed the following increases: $0 in first year, $250 in the second year, $350 in the third, $450 in the fourth, and $550 in the fifth.
An additional $1,204 per year is given to anyone who gets a master's degree. For every 15 credits earned beyond a master's degree up to 60 credits, teachers will receive an additional $940, $941, $940 and $1,000 per year. Also, each step will be $1,000 higher than the corresponding step for a teacher with a doctorate degree.
The starting salary in the first year of the contract would be $32,838. By the fifth year, it would be $34,438. The top salary in the first year of the contract would be $63,582; by the fifth year, it would be $66,182.
Any work beyond the normal work day would increase from $22 an hour to $25 an hour, and the teachers would be required to attend four meetings with 10 days notice without additional pay instead of three meetings with 30 days notice.
As for health coverage, the district wants all employees to enroll in the Highmark Health Savings Account in which the district would supply $2,500 for a single household and $5,000 for a family starting Jan. 1, 2013. In subsequent years of 2015, 2016 and 2017, the district would deposit $1,700 into the employees's account for single household and $3,400 for families.
Employees would be required to pay a flat rate depending on the coverage plan or 8 percent of the premium, whichever is smaller.
Furthermore, the district is paying to the State Retirement Systems (PSERS) for each employee, and costs have dramatically increased over the past three years from 5.64 percent in 2010-11 to 16.93 percent in 2013-14.
Based on those numbers, the district said, an employee at the top of the current salary matrix being paid $63,582 is getting an addition $10,764 paid into their retirement account. If that teacher has family health insurance, that's another $16,542.54.
Therefore, the district is paying $90,889 per year for one teacher.
Laudenslager said the board has had 27 requests for additional pay from teachers for the first month of school.
"They are asking for $22 per hour for as little as five minutes of work past the required 7 1/2 hour workday," he said. "Unfortunately, I struggle to find times when many of them truly volunteer for anything past 7 1/2 hours per day without being paid."
Other details of the proposed contract include:
- An increase to the work day by 15 minutes. Teachers were originally required to work 7 hours and 30 minutes, but the district wants them to work 7 hours and 45 minutes.
- Each employee receives three personal days a year. The days will be cumulative to a maximum of five. The previous maximum was seven. However, if more than five days are accumulated, they will be credited to the employee's sick leave total; those days were lost in the previous contract.
- Full-time professional employees who waive health plan coverage from the district for entire year can participate in the cash exchange program in which they will be compensated $2,500 each year with one payment.
The full summary of the district's proposal can be found at http://www.linemountain.com.