Sunday, December 8, 2013

Letter to Central Teachers from District Bargaining Team

December 2, 2013

Dear Central Teachers,

This letter is intended to provide an update on contract negotiations between the Central School District and the Central Education Association (CEA).  The District and CEA began bargaining on June 12, 2013, in an effort to reach an agreement to replace our contract that expired on June 30, 2013.  The parties met numerous times, for several hours each session, and have shared their respective perspectives and positions.

In approaching these negotiations, the Central School Board has instructed the District Bargaining Team to operate under the following principles:

·                  Improving student achievement and success is the overriding goal in everything the           District does, and is the primary motivating factor behind all decisions.

·                  Promises and obligations to staff members, specifically with regard to financial obligations, must be sustainable.  Balancing a budget with layoffs or school year reductions is not in the best interest of staff, students or the community.

·                  The District has quality teachers who deserve fair compensation and benefits for their       service to the community and its students.

·                  As economic conditions for the District improve, competing needs for limited resources increase.  Changes in salary and benefits will be balanced with other important needs that directly contribute toward improved student achievement such as curriculum, technology, safe facilities, professional development, and class size balancing.

With these principles in mind, the District has endeavored to reach a fair and sustainable contract settlement with the CEA.  While the parties have settled many of the issues that have been brought forward, a resolution on financial issues has remained elusive.  At the most recent negotiation session, the District made the following economic proposal to the CEA team:

                                                                       2013-14                                   2014-15

Salary/Cost of Living Adjust (COLA):                  3%                                        2.25%

Insurance:                                                  $1,215.28 per month               $1,215.28 per month

The District’s proposal includes a monthly contribution to a Health Reimbursement Account, up to 85% of the difference between the premium and the cap, for teachers who choose an insurance plan less than the District insurance benefit.

Under Oregon Public Employees Collective Bargaining Law, our 2012-2013 contract remains in effect until replaced by a new contract.  All step-eligible staff has received a step increase for 2013-14.

The District’s proposal is equivalent to or slightly above the total compensation packages provided in comparable districts (e.g. Dallas, Philomath, Lebanon, North Santiam, Woodburn, Silver Falls, North Wasco County and Albany).  Our proposal would provide economic increases for teachers, while at the same time allow funding for many other needed expenditures in the District in the current and future years.  The District team remains committed to a solution that represents a balanced approach; one that recognizes the needs of teachers while taking into account the needs of our students. 

In an effort to move the bargaining process toward resolution, the District team, with the support of the Board, has elected to exercise its legal right to seek assistance from a state mediator.  It is the District’s hope that a neutral third-party will help bring the parties closer together so a new contract can be reached in a timely fashion. 

If you have any questions about the ongoing negotiations, please contact a member of the CEA Bargaining Team.


District Bargaining Team and Board of Directors

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