SVSD Teacher Contract Negotiations Linger On – Inching Closer to August 30th School Year Start

I know.  I know.   Many of you are counting down the days until the start of the new school year.  Kids are getting bored. Patience and distractions are running out.  I am not trying to panic you.  But how many of you realize our SVSD teachers do not yet have a contract for the 2011-2012 school year?  Without one, August 30th could come and go without kids back in class.   Negotiations are still happening.  Offers have been made.  No compromise has been reached yet.

One sticking point is contract length and how that relates to state imposed teacher salary reductions.  The teacher’s union, SVEA, wants a 2-year contract and the district is offering a 1-year contract.  State budget cuts mandated a two-year 1.9% teacher salary reduction.   The district’s one year contract makes up that 1.9% reduction, but only for one year.  Teachers want this salary reduction restored for the full two years, as they say, many other districts are doing.  The district and teachers union will be renegotiating this issue in another 6 months with only a 1-year contract.

Another  sticking point is class size.  SVEA wants class size “small enough to support elementary and secondary teachers meeting the needs of a diverse student population.”  According to SVEA website, http://sveaunion.org, “The district has not offered any workload relief or support for class size overloads. In fact, the District has proposed suspending overload support for large secondary classes.”  How many of you are aware there are high school english and art classes with 39 students?

Sticking point three:  health care costs.  SVEA wants teacher out-of-pocket medical costs reduced through a local district contribution.  SVEA says other districts do this for their teachers.   This contribution is not being offered by SVSD at this point.  The teacher’s union is also requesting their medical benefits be extended to domestic partners, as they currently are for spouses.  The neighboring Issaquah School District provides domestic partners such medical benefits – and has for years.

There are other contract negotiation sticking points that include compensation, safe learning environment, contract language and teacher evaluations.  To read more about these and the negotiations you can check out the SVEA website and the SVSD homepage.

Click here for the latest update on the negotiations from SVSD officials:   Teacher Contract Negotiations 

If a tentative agreement has not been reached between SVEA and SVSD by the union’s  August 23rd General Membership Meeting, teachers are being asked to boycott the district’s August 25th Technology Day activities.  On August 18th, building representatives from all 10 district schools voted unanimously to boycott Technology Day if no agreement is reached by Monday, Aug. 22.  Monday is the last scheduled bargaining session.

Comments

  1. I understand your dilema. My school district and union are hashing out a few of the same items as yours; such as covering hte 1.9% loss of pay, and class size. We went on strike two years ago and even though they eventually came to an agreement, it really didn’t do much for us. Because of budget cuts and RIF’s, our class sizes didn’t change. I don’t have a lot of faith in my union now and I believe that I would not vote to strike again if this comes to that, especially in today’s economy. Ugh.

  2. Art Galloway says

    Clarification: SVEA is not asking for additional funding of benefits for domestic partners. We are proposing that the district allow us to use our present benefits allocation in accordance with state law. We are years behind other districts in codifying this provision!

    • Thx, Art. I did understand this point, but may not have been clear enough in my story. I also understand that issaqah school district has extended medical coverage for domestic partners for years. Sounds like we may be bit behind on this compared to neighboring districts?

  3. Molly Prater says

    The state cut salaries for teachers and school support staff by 1.9 percent for the next two years. Many surrounding districts as well as many districts in our state have made up the 1.9% by using local funding; others have cut the number of work days.
    I would like to also say that it is very disheartening to see the district’s unwillingness to put spending priorities in supporting teachers, students and classrooms.

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