No end in sights to contract impasse, board president says
MANDATA - While Line Mountain Education Association (LMEA) and the district's negotiation team will be meeting next week to discuss a new teachers' contracts, the president of the school board doesn't see an end in sight.
"As of now, we're nowhere close (to reaching a deal)," President Troy Laudenslager said Thursday.
Teachers have been working on an expired contract since June 2012, which was a one-year extension of a five-year contract that ended June 30, 2011, that guaranteed educators a 3 percent raise each year.
Line Mountain Education Association (LMEA) President Mark Shearer did not return a phone call and two emails Wednesday and Thursday seeking comment.
The 113 educators there have been working to the rule since Sept. 30 to draw attention to the stalled contract negotiations. They will not volunteer their time for duties not described in their contract and will only work during contracted hours.
When the two sides meet Thursday, Laudenslager said the district expects to have feedback concerning the proposal that was submitted to the union at the last contract negotiation meeting Oct. 3.
The proposal was released on the district website by the school board to show the public that the school board has been fair in the ongoing contracting negotiations with the teachers union, he has said.
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.
The proposal also includes increased work time, additional personal days and health care waivers.
The district's negotiation team consists of directors Laudenslager, Lamont Masser, David Scott Bartholomew and Lauren Hackenburg.
Laudenslager said he would have further comment after the meeting next week.