Pattye Benson

Community Matters

T/E School Board and Teachers sign tentative 3-year contract

The Tredyffrin Easttown Education Association (TEEA) and the T/E School Board have signed a tentative 3- year teachers’ contract for TEEA logoJuly 1, 2014 – June 30, 2017. After the teachers ratification, the School Board will take action at Monday’s school board meeting on the contract.

The contract protects the jobs of the District teachers and includes no furloughs or demotions clause through June 2017. The teachers will receive salary increases based on their step movement in the matrix. Not certain how this equates to percentage yearly increase or budget impact – need some help to understand.

2.013 Salary Progression

Through the end of the contract, the salary of Employees will be determined by placing them on the Salary Schedule as agreed to by Employer and Bargaining Agent as set forth herein.

Effective July 1, 2014, current Employees except those at maximum, will move one (1) vertical step on the Salary Schedule. Each employee is limited to one column movement per year subject to Section 2.025.

Effective July 1, 2015, current Employees except those at maximum will move one (1) vertical step on the Salary Schedule. Each employee is limited to one column movement per year subject to Section 2.025.

Effective July 1, 2016, current Employees except those at maximum will move one (1) vertical step on the Salary Schedule. Each employee is limited to one column movement per year subject to Section 2.025.

For all Employees hired prior to July 1, 1995, no Master’s Equivalency achieved after January 1, 1997, will be recognized as a Master’s Degree on the Salary Schedule.

Unless specifically mentioned in this Section, Section 2.013 does not apply to Health Room Nurses.

I was surprised to see a distance e-learning pilot program included in the contract. If you recall, TEEA previously filed a suit (and won) against the District over their implementation of distance learning. However, this contract includes a Distance E-Learning Pilot Program that will run the length of the contract, expiring on June 30, 2017. The e-learning opportunities will be offered to students by non-bargaining sources at the discretion of the District. The rapid growth of information technologies has influenced the way in which education is delivered and experienced – it is encouraging that the teachers’ contract includes an agreement for this pilot program in the District.

It looks like the teachers should be pleased with this 3-year contract!

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  1. It looks like there is something for everyone in the proposed contract, but I hope that there is further elaboration of the assumptions behind the analysis published with the agenda for Monday’s meeting so the Board can make a fully informed decision.

    The teachers should be happy with:
    – Removal of this year’s furlough days
    – Annual step movement (worth an average of 4% per step, and twice that at the top step of the Bachelors and Masters column)
    – Complete furlough protection
    – An e-learning agreement that is only temporary
    – Certification movement worth at least 1% per column and much, much more than that for some moves (29% for M to M+15 at Step 9!)
    – An increase in healthcare benefit contribution that is minimal
    – No change in benefits plan
    – Ability to go to mediation on the new PIP, which can not supersede any PIP currently in place

    The district will be happy with:
    – A three year agreement that simplifies planning
    – A matrix that is fixed after the bump for the top step
    – Caps on the payments for column movement and tuition reimbursement
    – An ability to at least try modern teaching technology
    – A small increase in employee healthcare benefit contribution
    – A “new agreement will be developed mutually regarding the Performance Improvement Plan ……. by June 1, 2104”

    The District claims that the annual net budget increases average less than 1% of the budget for each year. The assumptions behind this statement are important and I hope they will be explained on Monday. It is stated that the increase in Step 16 has an impact of only $122,000. This implies that there will be only 122 staff on the top step next year after the move up. I know that there have been a lot of retirements, but this number seems much lower than on the last distribution that I saw. And if only a quarter of the staff are on the top step, that means that three quarters are moving up 4% each year, so if TEEA salaries are half of the budget that’s a 1.5% annual impact on the budget. (Round numbers, of course). And that’s before column movement, the 1% impact in year 1 of the restored furlough days and all the ancillary increases in PSERS, Medicare etc. that go along with increased salaries. So I imagine that the district is at least figuring in the benefit of the absence of the 2013/14 bonus, which was of course intended to be a one time event. And I wonder, as always, if there has been any allowance for “breakage” – the exchange of high paid retiring staff with new hires.

    So, to my mind, key clarifications that the Board should request before voting:
    – How is the bonus included in the impact calculation?
    – What is the current distribution of staff on the matrix?
    – Have fringe benefits been included in the impact calculation?
    – What assumptions were made about mix between the two different healthcare plans and the distribution of single/family/etc.
    – Has there been any allowance for “breakage”?
    And the bottom line:
    – What does the new 2014/15 expense budget look like and how does each line item compare with the preliminary version?

    And the community gets something, too: a few days to look at and comment on a contract that sets spending levels for half the budget for the next three years. Is that long enough, though?

  2. Not surprising at all that online courses were agreed upon.

    We have a great school district. Those of us who elected to put our kids through the system are most appreciative.

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