The collective bargaining process for the Emmetsburg Education Association and the Emmetsburg Community School District began Wednesday evening with the initial exchange of proposals for the 2014-2015 school year. The proposals were exchanged during a special session of the School Board's negotiating committee and a delegation representing the Education Association Wednesday afternoon, March 12.
Sarah Brugman served as the spokesperson for the Education Association, which was represented by faculty members Jared Pickett, Aaron Phillips, Sue Strube and Travis Birkey, in presenting the proposal to Superintendent John Joynt and school board members Kathy Roethler and Rick Bird.
In their proposal, the Emmetsburg Education Association noted that they are "interested in a salary schedule to attract candidates and maintain highly effective teachers. Our small community needs to have an aggressive compensation package to compete with bigger schools in attracting motivated, qualified and energetic teachers."
"The Emmetsburg Board of Education and the Emmetsburg Education Association share the same goals," Brugman noted, " Providing the best education possible for our students."
The Education Association proposed at $2,000 increase in base pay for teachers, along with single coverage insurance costs to be covered by the school district. Also proposed were changes to the district's extra duty schedule to reflect "more equitable compensation" for specific duties.
Finally, the association proposed that the district's teacher contract have language added that addresses peer review and collaboration time.
In regard to the final proposal for the language change, Brugman noted that peer review and collaboration time are already addressed by law, but that the association was asking that the language just be added to the local contract. "These are both happening now in the district, but we'd just like to have them in the contract document."
After a brief recess, the two groups re-convened for the district's proposal to the association. Superintendent Joynt presented the district's offer of a 1.5 percent total package increase, without consideration of Teacher Salary Supplement funds from the state, which are paid directly to teachers.
As part of the district's proposal, the salary schedule would be aged, with teachers advanced on the schedule for one year of experience, as well as an advancement of a faculty member for longevity and advancement for teachers who have earned graduate credits. Otherwise, the district proposed no cash increase to the base salary.
For health insurance, the district proposed a freeze in contribution to the cost of insurance for the $1,0000 deductible level for a total of $7,205, with the increases to be paid by the employee.
The district proposed paying the increase in employer's share of Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) contributions tied to the aging of the salary schedule.
"As far as the change to contract language, we would counter with no change at this time, but we need to take a more in-depth look at the proposal on the change," Joynt said.
Following the two presentations, the two sides now continue their negotiations in closed session in accordance with Iowa law.