February 4, 2014

The Carroll Community School District presented its opening collective-bargaining offers to the Carroll Education Association and the Carroll Education Support Association Monday evening.

The CEA represents the teachers, while the CESA represents the support staff including special-education teacher associates, health assistants and bus drivers. Those organizations presented their opening offers to the school board two weeks ago at the regular meeting.

The teachers' initial proposal was for a 9 percent total package increase, which would cost the district $870,636. That raise would include a $2,510 increase on the base salar and the addition of a step on the salary schedule, said district business manager Gary Bengtson.

They also requested that employees be allowed to carry over one unused personal leave day to the following year. If the de-escalator clause, which allows the district to reduce pay in the event that the state Legislature decreases school funding, is implemented, teachers also propose that the number of working days for teachers be reduced to match.

The district countered with an initial offer of a 0.49 percent increase, which would cost the district $47,405. It includes the regular step advancement but does not add another step on the salary schedule and does not include any increase of the base.

Superintendent Rob Cordes also revealed Monday night that the cost of the district's health insurance has decreased 1.15 percent, the first decrease in insurance costs he recalls from his 14 years with the district.

The district's proposal includes a change in family health insurance, changing the board-employee ratio from 90 percent and 10 percent, to 85 percent and 15 percent. It also decreases the number of bereavement days for the death of an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin from two days to one day, and adds a section requiring teachers to make up any time missed when school is delayed or cancelled for inclement weather.

The initial proposal from the support staff was for a 9.58 percent total package increase, which would cost the district $172,538, said Bengtson. It includes a $1-per-hour increase for teacher associates and special-education associates, health assistants, educational interpreters, transportation workers and bus drivers, as well as a 50-cent-per-hour increases for new or current employees seeking a para-educator's certificate and a 30-cent-per-hour increase for employees currently holding that certificate, an associate's degree or two years of study at an institute of higher education.

The proposal also creates a new position for associates who work with students with severe and profound needs and a $2-per-hour increase for assistants already working with such students.

For bus drivers, the proposal includes a $100 increase on the per-month base pay for a total of nine months and an additional 25 cents per hour or $10 per month for every five years of employment in the district.

It also increases the number of personal leave days from two to three.

The district countered with an offer of a 0.35 percent total package increase, which would cost the district $6,317.19. It includes a 25-cent-per-hour increase for hourly employees, a $25-per-month increase for bus drivers, and a $1-per-hour increase for teachers' associates assisting students with severe and profound needs. It also includes a 20-cent-per-hour incentive for employees holding a para-educator's certificate.

The district is also interested in converting the bus drivers from a monthly to an hourly wage.

Last year, the district and unions settled on a 3.58 percent increase in the overall package for the support staff, and a 4 percent overall package increase for teachers.

Future negotiating meetings will be closed. Contract negotiations are open unless one or both sides request closed sessions.