The Fact Finder’s report has now been released (click here to read). In a quick review of the report, salary and health care/insurance appear to be the issues of major conflict between the school district and the teacher’s union. I offer the following summary and my personal remarks, but encourage you to review the report and weigh in with your own opinion. The public has 10 days to review the Fact Finder’s report and then the School Board votes again on Monday, August 20.
District (1) proposes that as of July 1, 2012 freezing teacher’s salaries at the 2011-12 contract year level; (2) proposes that as of July 1, 2013, freezing teacher’s salaries at the level at which they were at the conclusion of the 2011-12 contact year; and (3) proposes no column and step movement during the term of the Agreement.
Union proposes (1) that for the 2012-13 freezing salary at the 2011-12 contract year and (2) for the second year, 2013-14 year, there will be column and step movement throughout the salary schedule and that those bargaining unit members at the top of their respective columns will receive a payment of $1,000 off-scale bonus.
Recommendation: (1) 2012-13 freeze salary at the 2011-12 contract level and (2) for 2013-14 year, freeze salary for the first one-half of the school year at the 2011-12 contract level and for the second half of the year, there will be column and step movement. Those bargaining unit members at the top of their respective columns will receive a payment of $300 off-scale bonus.
District proposes to make available health benefit plan to full-time employees (including full-time Health Room nurses). I do not see a coverage option for employee’s spouses and/or dependents (even if the employee pays the difference).
Union proposes a shift to Personal Choice C2 health plan, which would include an increase in copays for doctor’s office visits. Union also agrees to increase its premium share from the current 5% to 7% of premium costs in year one of the Agreement and 8% of premium share in year two.
Recommendation: The Fact Finder report took real issue with the District in regards to health care, stating, “… considering the realities of its financial condition, and its educational and financial goals, there is absolutely no good reason why this School District would not offer more than single medical insurance coverage for its teachers. … There is no defensible reason for this School District – this School District that is one of the richest and best performing school districts in the state – to champion any proposal that would pressure and weaken the families of the teachers who serve the District’s families; removing medical insurance coverage from the children and families of teachers would do just that and I cannot recommend such.” The Fact Finder believes that the District should offer health plan options for teacher’s spouse plus children and family options, suggesting that the District will pay 90 -95% of the premiums and employees 5 – 10% of the premium based on Year One or Year Two of contract.
I’m not certain that I correctly understand the recommendation about ‘who’ is paying for the spouses and/or children of employees. To be clear, I totally disagree with the District on the subject of health care insurance – employees need to be able to have an option of insurance coverage for their spouses and/or families. It does not appear that the District offers that option. Although I am of the opinion that employees should have their individual insurance covered, perhaps the employees should be responsible for the additional costs of insuring their spouses and/or children. If I read the recommendation correctly, that does not appear to be an option.