District, teachers trade proposals

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The District 55 School Board and the Sweet Home Education Association, which represents certified staff and teachers, opened bargaining for a new contract by trading proposals on April 29.

The proposals address language throughout the contract, salaries and insurance benefits. The teachers union proposes a three-year contract. The district proposes a four-year contract.

On salaries, the district proposes a 2 percent salary increase across the salary schedule in 2008-09, a 2.5 percent increase in 2009-10, a 2 percent increase in 2010-11 and 2.5 percent in 2010-11.

“The uncertainty of the stock market, and the Charter School impact cause the need for economic restraint,” the district explained in its proposal. It also applied the same rationale to its proposal on insurance benefits.

The district proposes raising its contribution for insurance premiums from $800 to $825 per month for 2008-09 and then to $850 in 2009-10, $875 in 2010-11, and $900 in 2011-12.

The teachers union proposes restructuring the salary schedule with a 5 percent increase to the schedule in 2008-09, a 3 percent increase in 2009-10 and a 3 percent increase in 2010-11.

The teachers union proposes increasing the district’s share of the monthly insurance premium to $900 in 2008-09, $950 in 2009-10 and $1,000 in 2010-11.

The restructured salary schedule, which indexes salaries across the schedule to each other, with the highest point in the schedule, 18 years teaching with a bachelor’s degree plus 110 credits or a master’s degree plus 45 credits, paying 2.015 times that of a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree.

Under the restructured salary schedule, a teacher at the highest point of the schedule would receive a 9.4-percent pay increase, from $56,375 to $61,661, in 2008-09. The low point in the schedule would receive a 5-percent increase, from $29,144 to $30,601.

The bargaining teams will meet again at 5 p.m. on May 13 and 3:30 p.m. on June 13 in the district board room. The meetings are open to the public.

The existing contract expires on June 30.