MCEA is a not-for-profit professional teachers’ organization designed to advocate the advancement of a free public education for all; to empower and advance professional growth for educators; and to engage our members and our community in order to ensure that our students learn and succeed in a diverse world.
The following is a summary of the November 1 negotiations session written by Karen Resciniti. I'd like to thank her for a great job of capturing the essence of the meeting.
On Friday, November 1st, your MCEA negotiations team met with the District for the 3rd session of 2013/14 contract negotiations. It was evident that the district team was relieved that there were only about fifty teachers in attendance. Board member, Rebecca Negron, was also present. The session lasted for approximately 2 ½ hours. It was a heated session. Minus a few language issues, proposed by MCEA and seemingly amenable to the district team, we are at a standstill with the issue of salary and a new salary schedule. In a nut shell, the district does not want a clear schedule-- in other words, no transparency. Read on!
The session started with a presentation by Director of Finance, Helene DiBartolomeo. It was an overview of the Fund balance status, including projections of expenditures and revenue. Although the audit is not yet complete, the projected fund balance shows a shortfall somewhere around $500k. She provided a breakdown of "functions" showing the projections. DiBartolomeo was questioned regarding various scenarios of the Restricted, Committed and Non-spendable accounts, specifically as it pertained to projections with expenditures and revenues. MCEA also requested a copy of the final audit which should be forthcoming. Kim Sabol questioned Helene about the district's ability to hide or shift around funds. Ms. DiBartolomeo assured the audience that it could not be done. So, the district does not have any more money to add to the Gov. Scott TEACHER salary raises. This little tidbit of information could be interesting when things are finally settled.
As far as the salary schedule is concerned, the district's amended proposal of $2,100 for all teachers, regardless of employment status and evaluative rating, is respectable. However, this is only for this year. In order to get this $2,100 MCEA has to agree to a total restructuring of how teachers are paid. There will only be a "launching pad" for new hires but not a regular salary schedule for personnel already employed by the district. It is the district’s intent to do away with any type of regular salary schedule. No one will be able to "see" where they (or anyone else for that matter) are situated financially nor be able to easily project their monetary growth in the future. Each “salary schedule” will be individual. Each teacher will have to keep track of their salary and any increases each year and hope that the district is calculating correctly. How exactly will any salary increases be calculated? Well, the district has come up with an algebraic formula to facilitate this....Actually the district tooted that the algebraic formula was originally developed and is being used by the #1 district in Florida, St. John's County. MCEA quickly squashed that piece of information, stating that it has been thrown out! So the county that originally developed the algebraic concept scrapped it when their teachers protested!! I believe the district’s negotiations team was in shock that they were not privy to this "recent" development. Nevertheless, the district is insistent that we use this "orphaned" plan of St. Johns. They further stated that three other districts were going to implement it. We only know for sure that one county, Wakulla, has adopted it. For some reason, the other 64 counties are not so impressed! Hmmm....
MCEA responded that a salary schedule was, in fact, necessary in order to cost things out from year to year. Dianne Falvo further stated, "The teachers want a clear schedule"! They want the MCEA proposal!” (Negron was taking notes...) The district informed us that there was another Executive Session scheduled for November 5th. The proposals for both sides will be presented.
** Somewhere in all this salary schedule discussion, Kim asked if MCEA took into account administrative raises and AFSCME from the Governor’s money in our proposal. Dianne gave a definitive, "NO!" MCEA does not bargain for administration nor AFSCME. It is not what our members pay for. Sabol insinuated that MCEA was being greedy in leaving out the others. Kim stated that other districts are giving raises to AFSCME and administration as well. MCEA said that perhaps they are, but the money is coming out of the districts' coffers--not necessarily out of the Governor's money and certainly not being bargained for by the teachers' union... Silence is golden!
** Some administrators are thinking they are getting $3,400...Hmmm, I don't think they got the district's amended proposal! An MCEA team member asked for clarification--Does the dollar amount of $2,100 stand for administration as well? The answer was that it would be $2,100 for all teachers and administrators.
There are a few other language/salary issues at hand:
Western Zone Supplement- MCEA rejected the District's amended proposal for cutting the WZS. Dianne stated that the quality of teachers in place is the reason for the schools' success. Reducing their supplement could cause movement of personal. The team stressed the necessity to keep the supplements as is.
Advanced degree supplements- The district proposed to reduce these supplements. MCEA team members argued that reducing supplemented for advanced degrees, in an educational institution, is hypocritical. Furthermore, those with advanced degrees will leave and go to other districts, where higher education is valued! In addition, the point was made that our district will be less attractive than other districts across the state; it will be more difficult to attract critical needs teachers with high credentials. The district MUST think about the impact of their proposal and its long term effect on the district and our students.
So, will the district maintain a salary schedule as demanded by the teachers' bargaining unit??? Will administration and AFSCME get a raise?? If so, where will the money come from as the district says there is no additional money to be found in the fund balance?? Will the district reduce the supplements for WZ and for Advanced Degrees?? Stay tuned....Same BAT time, same BAT channel.....
NEXT NEGOTIATIONS SESSION SCHEDULED FORNOV. 16TH AT 10:00 AM IN THE SCHOOL BOARD ROOM....BE THERE!!