May 9, 2014
We are pleased to announce that we completed the Contract Negotiations for the upcoming 2014-2015 School Year. Using our “Interest-Based Solutions” negotiating system, the Uncompahgre Valley Education Association and MSCD administrators worked as a team to develop the compensation package, refine contract language as well as addressing some issues facing the schools. The entire team is excited about the work we were able to complete during our six days of working together this year. We met for two days in November in order to follow up on contract language left over from last spring and to study issues that we decided to work on together. We met again for two days in April and wrapped up our work together this week looking at the compensation package and other budget issues. We tackled a lot of very important and complicated issues, as you will see as you read down this letter.
The Tentative Agreement must be ratified by the MCSD Board of Education and UVEA membership. UVEA will begin their ratification process Monday and the School Board ratification takes place at the June 10th Board meeting.
Highlights of our work include:
- The Compensation Package:
- A 1% increase to the salary schedule (starting at the Base) for every employee
- A .9% increase to each employee’s PERA retirement (required by the State) paid by the District
- One step for all those who qualify
- Payment for qualified lanes and clock hours
- A $.25 per hour increase in hourly pay for every classified/hourly staff member
- A flat $500 increase to the salary (starting at the Base) for every licensed/certified staff member
- A 5% increase to the District and employee portion of the District Health Insurance
- A $1 per hour increase to custodial leaders
- Contract Language Updates and Other Issues:
- 191 Language to keep us current with state law
- A new evaluation system for all classified employees that greatly improves the clarity of what staff are expected to do and what they can do to improve
- Extending the secretarial contracts at every school to allow enough time to properly prepare for registration and the start of the year
- An agreed upon hourly rate of $35 per hour for required/mandatory focused Professional Development outside of the contract time, with a minimum of 30 days notice to teachers informing them of the schedule. $80,000 was set aside for this effort (other District funds may be used as well)
- Final adjustments to the budget to fully comply with use of federal Title I funds (last year of this)
- Addition of $70,000 allocated to school site for discretionary spending
- Addition of 4 teaching positions and the return of the custodial supervisor position
- Adjustments to the Nutritional Services business model/scheduling to increase efficiencies
The funding sources for these increases and improvements, many of which have been frozen or were cut in the last few years comes primarily from new state funds according to Amendment 23. The state currently underfunds MCSD approximately $7.2 million dollars per year (also known as the negative factor). The increases in next years state funding bring this “negative factor” to $6.2 million for the upcoming year. At the current rate, the negative factor will not be eliminated until approximately 2023.
We are pleased and honored to be able to continue to invest in our most valuable asset, our people. In 2006 the required contribution to PERA was 8% (of your salary) from you, the employee and 8% from the District. Currently you still contribute 8%, but the District must now contribute 18.35%. The District is required to increase the contribution .9% each year until 2018. During the same time health insurance rates have just about doubled, while benefits have decreased. The good news is these benefits, although expensive, still exist. Many, many people have lost employer paid health care and their retirement.
This year’s compensation package takes a significant step toward eliminating the one remaining “lost step”. Funding remains an issue for our District, but the School Board is determined to make available as much money as possible to help our staff to be successful in their jobs and to have a good quality of life. We all know times are tough for many in our community, including our own employees. Montrose County has been particularly hard hit during the recession and we continue to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. However, the community support for our schools remains high and seems to be on the increase.
On behalf of the School Board, your local UVEA and the Superintendent, we want to say thank you to everyone for your continued dedication and support of our main mission: Providing an Excellent Educational Experience for Every Student. Together, we truly are creating the future.
Your Negotiations Team
Montrose County School District RE-1J: Serving Students; Serving Staff; Serving Schools