Negotiation Updates

2023/2024 Negotiations Updates

1/30/24 Session #11
 

I want to start by thanking all those who attended tonight's negotiations session and stuck it out through the delay due to some car trouble experienced by our Chief Negotiator while enroute to our session. We’re glad he arrived safe and sound to guide our discussion at the table.

Despite the hiccup at the beginning, this was one of our most heavily attended sessions this year and BY FAR the largest gathering that we’ve had at the new location. Let’s keep up the pressure because I believe that the fruits of our labor are starting to show, as evidenced by tonight’s events (or lack thereof). For those in attendance, I know things didn’t quite turn out the way they were advertised, but that happens sometimes during the negotiations process. Despite the best laid plans, you never know for certain what’s going to happen when you sit down at the table.

In this case, the fact that the School Board did not offer a salary counter proposal might be an indication of some positive movement in our favor, which is a good sign considering every time they’ve countered right away, it has only led to a $200 increase in their offer. Hopefully, the delay will result in a more thoughtful proposal from the Board that brings us closer to closing the gap between our wages and the high cost of living in this district. If that’s not the case, MCEA is committed to keeping up the pressure in order to secure a livable wage that reflects our value as professionals.

Because the Board requested more time to respond to our offer, the MCEA Bargaining Team decided not to follow through with our intended plan as we had indicated to you in previous emails. While that plan certainly has merit, and will be presented at some point, following through in light of the Board’s delay would have more than likely resulted in an outright rejection of the proposal and a reconsideration of what ever offer they plan to present at our next session. In this case, it may have been in everyone’s best interest to remain still now so that we can take a bigger leap forward in the future.

Until that time, I strongly urge all our teachers to attend the School Board Workshop on February 13th where the Board will be discussing MCEA’s retention bonus. They have said in previous sessions that they want to entertain the idea, and this workshop will provide the perfect opportunity for us to tell our stories and explain why they need to consider it. That meeting is scheduled for 4pm at the New School Board Meeting Room on February 13th, and I can’t imagine a more impactful message than a sea of RED in the audience united in solidarity and advocating for better pay. I hope to see you there!

Thanks again for all you do, and I look forward to seeing all of you at the Board workshop on the 13th.

1/23/24 Session #10
 

Tonight’s negotiations session was relatively short, but not necessarily sweet, so I’m going to keep this update as brief as possible…

The MCEA reaffirmed our commitment to closing the gap between our wages and the high cost of living by offering a salary counter proposal of $2600 for Highly Effective Annual Contract employees, $1950 for Effective Annual Contract employees, $1950 for Highly Effective Professional Service Contract employees, and $1850 for Effective Professional Service Contract employees, once again matching the School Board’s energy and only coming down $200 from our previous proposal, the same amount they increased theirs last week.

In addition, we stood fast in our protection of the contract by rejecting nearly a dozen language proposals from the School Board that would have weakened our collective bargaining agreement and taken away some of the rights and protections we currently have as employees. If you want to see a glimpse of what life would be like without your union, just imagine not having a say in your classroom observations, student grades, or how to address health and safety issues, and losing the ability to discuss and resolve problems or concerns at your school site. All this (and more) was on the table tonight, and all of it was flatly rejected by your union. These issues would have had a negative impact on non-union members too, and they need to know that without a union standing up for them, there is nothing to prevent this School Board from imposing their will on all the educators in this district, so please share this news with them as well.

We will continue to stand up for your rights and be your voice, but we need your help. There is strength in numbers, and we intend to show the Board our strength at our upcoming negotiations session on January 30th and at the School Board Workshop on February 13th. Your presence at these events will send a powerful message to the Board that we demand to be treated like professionals and that we deserve a salary that is fair and allows us to provide for those we care most about. Please mark your calendars now and plan on wearing Red for Ed at both events.

As always, thank you for your time and know that you are appreciated for all that you do. Keep up the great work and we will see you at our next negotiations session!

1/18/24 Session #9
 

I want to start by thanking those who attended yesterday’s negotiations session at the New School Board Meeting Room and wore Red in support of our cause. Your continued presence helps make the case that our teachers are tired of the status quo and that we demand a fair wage for our labor. I also want to thank Eric Gzimalowski from FEA who was there to document the proceedings and interview members regarding their feelings about the process. Many expressed their frustration at the slow pace and the unwillingness of the School Board to reward teachers for their performance in raising student scores and helping the MCSD move into the top ten in the state with regard to student performance.

Those in attendance were keen to notice that the Board, once again, failed to acknowledge that Martin County also ranks seventh in terms of cost of living and 46th when it comes to teacher salaries, and their counterproposal reflected that. Coming in with a ‘whopping’ $200 increase to their previous offer to annual contract teachers and a measly $100 - $150 increase to veteran teachers, the Board’s offer currently stands at $1200 and $900 for highly effective and effective annual contract employees and $900 and $800 for highly effective and effective employees on Professional Services Contract, respectively. In contrast, the MCEA offer stands at $2800 and $2100 for highly effective and effective annual contract employees and $2100 and $2000 for highly effective and effective employees on Professional Services ContractMoving in $200 increments, it's going to take a while to bridge the gap between our wages and our cost of living.

The lone bright spot of the evening occurred when the Board finally acknowledged the severe shortage of Speech Language Pathologists in our schools and offered an increase to their supplement in an effort to attract more qualified people to the district. MCEA will compare their offer to that of surrounding counties, and we will make sure that our counterproposal is competitive. Our SLP’s and the students they serve deserve that consideration, and since this situation affects all of us, it's worth keeping an eye on.

If you find yourself frustrated by the Board’s offer and at the slow pace of negotiations, I strongly urge to attend our next session on January 23rd at 4:30pm in the New School Board Meeting Room. A packed house, all wearing Red for Ed, will send a very clear message that we are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Your involvement is crucial to our success and will help us secure a contract that is fair and reflects the hard work we put in on behalf of the students in this community, day in and day out. I hope to see you there!

1/11/24 Session #8
 

First, I have to say that the new school board meeting room is a wonderful facility, and if you haven’t visited yet, I strongly encourage you to check it out.

As for the session itself, it was fairly brief, with MCEA spending the majority of the time presenting our new salary proposal and addressing several key issues that the district failed to address in their presentation from December 19th. Last night’s presentation is attached for you to review, but one of the biggest takeaways you will see is that MCSD ranks 9th in the state in student performance scores, 7th in the state when it comes to cost of living, and 46th in teacher pay (important figures for discussing Pay for Performance salary increases). Martin County is also home to the most experienced teachers on the Treasure Coast. Only Palm Beach County averages higher years of experience, and the only reason for that is because they have more teachers in the district. Our teachers have clearly performed, and now it's time for the Board to recognize those efforts and compensate us accordingly!

In response to our first salary proposal, the School Board raised their initial offer by $200. MCEA chose to meet that energy by reducing our initial offer by $200 as well. According to our proposal, Highly Effective Annual Contract teachers would receive $2800 and Effective Annual Contract teachers would receive $2100. The raises for teachers on Professional Services Contracts would be $2100 and $2000 for highly effective and effective evaluations, respectively. The total cost of our proposal is approximately $2.5 million.

In addition to this proposal, we also offered a fix to the current Millage MOU that would allow those teachers who receive a promotion to still receive at least a pro-rated share of the millage for their time in the classroom. This fix would only apply to a handful of employees this year, but it would allow any teacher moving forward to accept a raise within the district without losing out on the retention stipend they earned during the school year.

We will see how the district responds to this much-needed change and to our salary counter proposal at our next session, scheduled for January 18th. We also have sessions scheduled for 1/23 and 1/30 as well, all of which will take place at 4:30pm in the New School Board Meeting Room. Additionally, the School Board will be discussing MCEA’s retention bonus at a workshop at 4pm on February 13th, and you certainly won’t want to miss that one, as it will be an opportunity for the Board to hear directly from you regarding what is and isn’t working with regard to teacher retention.

 
12/19/23 Session #7
 

Tonight’s negotiations session was a fairly productive one considering that there weren’t many proposals exchanged by either party at the table. Those in attendance were treated to a nice surprise, though, and I’m not just talking about the brownies provided by one of our members (although those were delicious and totally lived up to their legendary status).

The most exciting news of the evening was that there is consensus among the School Board members to entertain our retention stipend proposal initially offered during session #5. Given the turnover rates in the district right now, this didn’t come as much of a surprise. We were told that the details still need to be worked out, so we have no idea what the final amount will look like, yet, but the fact that they are willing to pursue the idea is a step in the right direction.

Along those same lines, another positive takeaway from tonight’s session is that the union and the district had a healthy discussion regarding the financial presentation we made at the last session. While there was no movement closer to an agreement on Pay for Performance raises, the conversation was productive and a step in the right direction. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” but I believe that they provided us with a pathway forward towards a successful settlement regarding salary.

The only real low point of the evening came during the District’s financial presentation where some of the data presented didn’t seem to match the current realities our teachers face in the classroom on a daily basis. They also didn’t address the fact that Martin County ranks 7th in cost of living and 46th in terms of average teacher pay, and the comments made regarding budget shortfalls definitely raised a few eyebrows. Those in attendance were left with a lot of questions, and MCEA is committed to getting answers to those questions when we return to the table on January 11th.

In conclusion, I would like to thank those who attended tonight for their continued support, as well as those who could not make it but still wore red today at school in solidarity. Your impact is definitely felt by the other side, and together we are moving the needle in the right direction. Keep up the amazing work, and I hope you all enjoy your last day of school before the winter break. Thank you for all that you do!

 
12/4/23 Session #6
 

I want to start off this update with a HUGE thank you to the 40 or so teachers who came out to tonight’s session all wearing red and another shoutout to the countless number of teachers who couldn’t attend but still wore red at their school sites in support of a better contract and a fair wage. Keep up the amazing work! It’s making a difference.

Those in attendance tonight were treated to an incredibly eye-opening presentation from our Chief Negotiator, Gary Simmons, who eloquently painted a picture of where Martin County stands in relation to surrounding counties when it comes to cost of living and teacher pay (spoiler alert: one of those figures is really high and the other is extremely low). Many in the audience were shocked and audibly gasped at the information he presented. It was incredibly powerful.

Equally as powerful was the elegant solution that the MCEA put forward as a counter-proposal to resolve many of the issues Gary addressed in his presentation. In addition to our $2000 retention stipend, we offered a Pay for Performance package that would’ve paid $2250 HE/$2000 Eff for PSC teachers and $3000 HE/$2250 Eff for Annual Contract teachers. We felt that a proposal of this magnitude would go a long way towards retaining teachers, providing some much-needed continuity in this community, and it would do so in a way that was fiscally responsible, costing the district approximately $3.8 million (keep in mind that whatever the final amount agreed to for Pay for Performance will be added to the amount you received from the TSIA money earlier in the year to make up your total salary increase for the year).

Our offer was met immediately with a pre-prepared counter-proposal from the district that was only a $200,000 increase from their initial offer. Hopefully, they will take the next two weeks to allow the info we presented to sink in a little bit and make a legitimate attempt to meet us in the middle. In addition to this exchange of proposals, the MCEA also rejected some of the contract language previously proposed by the District that would’ve weakened our contract and limited our rights as employees. We were not fooled by this Board’s attempts to undo the commitments made to teachers by previous School Boards, and we are committed to fighting their continued efforts to deny our Union basic rights that we have won through the collective bargaining process.

I encourage you to talk with your colleagues and share this information with them, both members and non-members, because it absolutely affects all of us. It is simply too important to keep to ourselves. I hope that you will read it and share it, and that it will inspire you to join us at our next negotiations session on 12/19, where we will offer Part 2 of this presentation along with some additional salary proposals. If you missed this one, I promise you won’t want to miss out again.

11/14/23 Session #5
 

We had another great turnout at negotiations this afternoon with close to 40 people in attendance. There were some new faces in the crowd tonight, including more members of the community who came out to support our public-school teachers. Believe me, we are grateful for the support!

Unfortunately, those in attendance weren’t treated to much of a show with the district following up their lackluster Pay for Performance proposal from last week with a rejection of MCEA’s ground rules language. They followed up that number with proposed changes to the contract that would weaken employee protections for things like our Faculty Councils, health and safety, meaningful and timely feedback on lesson plans, and teacher input on district committees. All in all, the district put forward 18 proposed changes to our contract with most of them having a negative impact on our current working conditions.

The one bright spot of the evening came when MCEA’s Chief Negotiator, Gary Simmons, put forward a proposal on behalf of our teachers that would provide all instructional staff with a $2000 retention bonus. The timing of this proposal was impeccable given that the School Board was also holding a workshop on the issue of teacher retention at the same time as our session. Time will tell whether the Board is serious about retaining high-quality professional educators in this district, or if they will lose even more of us to surrounding counties that currently offer stipends of this nature.

While I know this news isn’t great, I think one of the positive take-aways from this session is that our members are engaged, they are paying attention, and they are committed to fighting for a contract that is fair and reflects our value as professionals. If you feel the same way, then I encourage you to join us at our next negotiations session scheduled for December 5th. Those in attendance that day will get the chance to observe MCEA’s official response to the District’s salary proposal, and I promise you won’t want to miss that.

Thank you again for all that you do! Keep up the amazing work on behalf of our students. Keep wearing Red for Ed and keep having conversations with your coworkers about the important work being done by the union on their behalf. For us to succeed, it's going to take ALL of us standing together in unison, because there is strength in numbers, and we are STRONGER TOGETHER!

 
11/7/23 Session #4
 

The District and the MCEA each exchanged one proposal at the table, with MCEA proposing ground rules intended to expedite the process and help us reach an agreement sooner. Some of the ideas proposed included giving both sides the authority to make decisions at the table, providing written proposals that are clearly defined, and offering access to a mediator prior to declaring impasse. Overall, there were twelve norms presented to the District for consideration.

As for the District, they put forward a salary proposal that was not very well received by those in the room. With a total cost to the district of about $1 million, they offered $800 for highly effective and $600 for effective for Annual Contract teachers and $600 for highly effective and $500 for effective teachers on Professional Services contracts. Needless to say, we did not agree to these terms, and we plan on responding with a counterproposal that more adequately reflects your value as professional educators.

Please mark your calendars for NEXT Tuesday (11/14) as we go back to the table to exchange more proposals. With your help, I am confident that we can get more than 50 people in the room and help us realize our true power. Your presence DEFINITELY makes a difference!

 
8/15/23 Session #3 
 
By now, you've probably seen the email from the District announcing a tentative agreement with MCEA regarding the disbursement of TSIA funds for this 2023-24 school year in an historic THREE sessions! This is exciting news for our members, especially those in the middle of the salary schedule who have not seen their salaries raised as much as their newer counterparts in recent years. In addition to helping those in the middle of salary schedule, this agreement also helps to increase starting salaries in order to remain competitive with other districts, and it helps alleviate some of the compression at the beginning of the schedule. These are all huge victories for our members!

While the vast majority of our teachers are receiving anywhere from $800 to $1400 via this proposal, the increase our veteran teachers received was noticeably less.  Please understand that legislative limitations have prevented your Union from negotiating equitable distribution of the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSIA) to increase the base salary.  It is with that understanding, we fought for our veteran teachers to receive $10,050 in millage.  Although it is not added to your base salary, our veteran teachers receive this pensionable lump-sum payment this year and next year, and we will use our voice and influence to make sure the millage is approved on the ballot this November to gain a third year of that payment as well.  That is $30,150 for our veteran teachers!  MCEA also provides the benefit of free financial planning through Suncoast Credit Union’s Educators Choice program that includes utilizing the millage payments to help realize your retirement goals!

This tentative agreement must be ratified by all teachers before going to Tallahassee for final approval. Please stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks from the Union and your School Site Reps on voting dates and procedures. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at matthew.theobald@floridaea.org. Thank you for your time, and I hope you have a great rest of your week!
 
8/3/23 Session #2 (Stuart Learning Center 4:30 PM)
 

Last week, your MCEA Bargaining Team met with the District to continue our negotiations surrounding TSIA funds. At that session, the District informed us that they had to withdraw their previous proposal because there was a misalignment of employees and their years of experience on the proposed salary schedule, which resulted in an incorrect distribution of funds. Unfortunately, the new proposal they put forward did not help the “middle” of the salary schedule as much as the initial proposal did. While the specifics are too much to include in a single email, some of the most notable differences between the two proposals are as follows:

  • The base salary will still be increased to $49,500, but that increase only applies to the first step on the schedule, whereas it was previously applied to steps 1-8.
  • Individuals on steps 2 through 6 would see the largest raises of anyone on the salary schedule.
  • The average raise for steps 9-29 is about $2000 less than the original proposal.
  • The remaining steps on the schedule from 30 and up would receive raises ranging from $300 to $900, with those serving the longest receiving the smallest amounts.

While the proposal from the School Board does raise the base salary and help ease some of the compression on the salary schedule, it certainly doesn’t go far enough to help those in the middle of the scale or our veteran teachers. MCEA is committed to fighting for fair wage increases for ALL of our teachers, and we will return to the table with a proposal that reflects that. We have two more sessions scheduled for 4:30pm on August 15th and 22nd at the Stuart Learning Center, and you are encouraged to attend.

 
7/12/23 Session #1 (Stuart Learning Center 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm)
 

Your Bargaining Team went into this session with three objectives: to reduce compression at the bottom of the pay scale (Skyward steps 1-17), to help those teachers in the middle who have been teaching for over a decade making the same as a brand-new teacher, and to raise the base salary in order to be more competitive with surrounding districts. We are pleased to report that School Board shares those same goals, and the proposal that the District put forward appears to reflect that.

The District’s proposal includes raising the base salary (not including pay for performance) to $49,500 for Skyward steps 1-8. It also includes higher raises to steps 9-30 to help reduce the compression between those steps, and it offers raises to all the remaining steps on the scale so that everyone receives an increase. The specifics of theses raises are still subject to negotiation and could fluctuate depending on the number of teachers employed by the District, so I’m not going to list everything here, but feel free to email me with any specific questions you may have. We are also sending this proposal to FEA for review to see if this offer really is as good as it appears, and we will return to the negotiations table August 3rd at 4:30pm with our response.

Lastly, if you are interested in the negotiations process and want to learn more or get involved, please call the office at (772) 233-5338 or send an email to martinteachers@gmail.com. We are looking for members to join our new Bargaining Organizing Action Team (BOAT), and everyone is invited to get on board. Your involvement is crucial to our success!

2022-2023 UPDATES

Session #11  1/19/23

I am happy to report to you that the MCEA and the MCSD came to a tentative agreement on our 2022-2023 contract this evening! The new hire placement schedule was our final task and both parties signed off. I believe that this 2022-23 session showed collaboration on both sides! We are looking for ways to streamline the negotiations of 2023/24 to expediate the process to a higher level.

The District presented a surprise MOU agreement after the signing of the 2022/23 salary package and schedule. The School Board proposed a change to the Western Zone Supplement, awarding ALL instructional staff in Indiantown and Warfield a WZ supplement of $3,100. This is found in Article II.4 E in the contract.  I do not have the details at hand as my Director retained the copy. I’m sure that the principals of those two schools will share it with their staff. Of course, this MOU will be posted prior to ratification voting. Thank you to the teachers at those schools who filed grievances, and a special shout out to Principal Jeff Raimann who has tirelessly advocated for his staff at the NEST for an increase in the WZ supplement.

We will conduct voting on the 22/23 CBA and any additional MOU’s in February, prior to the February Board meeting on the 21st. Once our team has looked at the calendar, and we have all necessary documents for posting, we will arrive on a date for voting.

I am providing you with a recap of the salary package which was presented in a previous email:

50% of TSIA dollars allocated to raising starting teacher salary. (per statute, total- $752,571)

1A- 5B would get $1200, 5C would get $900 * The 50% was absorbed with these amounts

So, everyone making $47,500 would get $1200. Those making $47,800 would get $900

This would bring everyone on levels 1A-5C to $48,700. (nothing to do with years of experience) $48,700 would be our new starting salary.

The other 50% of TSIA dollars goes to increase salaries for teachers on steps 6A and down (more years of experience. These salaries range from $48,100 and higher) This amount is $700

Then the performance pay would be added as follows:

Performance pay-   Annual: HE  $1200, $900 effective

                                    PSC:         HE  $900,    $700 effective

The district’s salary package (using district funds) amounts to $1,326,656.88. This stretch puts the district over budget by $22,669.36.

Thank you to the teachers who attended tonight’s session and to all the teachers who have attended past sessions. The MCEA team truly appreciates the support.

If you have the opportunity, please reach out and thank your MCEA bargaining team members. They have been working tirelessly, not only this year, but for the past three years.

 
Session #10 12/8/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

The MCEA team headed back to the table tonight with the MCSD for session #10. I wish that I had good news, but I do not. There is not much to summarize tonight. The District stuck with their last proposal. They did not propose any additional funds for raises. The Chief Negotiator indicated that it was their final offer.

A recap of their final offer:

50% of TSIA dollars allocated to raising starting teacher salary. (per statute, total- $752,571)

1A- 5B would get $1200, 5C would get $900  * The 50% was absorbed with these amounts

So, everyone making $47,500 would get $1200. Those making $47,800 would get $900

This would bring everyone on levels 1A-5C to $48,700. (nothing to do with years of experience) $48,700 would be our new starting salary.

The other 50% of TSIA dollars goes to increase salaries for teachers on steps 6A and down (more years of experience. These salaries range from $48,100 and higher) This amount is $700

Then the performance pay would be added as follows:

Performance pay-   Annual  HE  $1200, $900 effective

                                  PSC        HE  $900,    $700 effective

The district’s salary package (using district funds) amounts to $1,326,656.88. This stretch puts the district over budget by $22,669.36.

District indicated to us that it was their final offer. What does that mean?  We either go to impasse or accept their offer. Impasse is not binding.  In other words, if we bring in a mediator and he sides with the union, indicating that the District can afford more, the District can ignore his findings and impose. They could even impose less, which I don’t think they would ever do. Who knows?

Oh, I forgot…the district made a presentation to start the session. It had a lot to do with the millage.  I encourage you to watch it when it comes out on Martin TV. It should be ready for viewing by Monday or Tuesday.

Our next session, # 11, is on Tuesday, December 13th at 4:32, Stuart Learning Center.

Our entire team was not available for this session. We only caucused to review the MOU document for the TSIA dollars mentioned above.

 
Session #9 11/30/22 School board room at 4:30 PM

MCEA headed back to the table for session #9.  Let me give you a little recap of session #8. As I stated in last night’s email, We agreed that option B TSIA proposal from the district was the most beneficial to all our members.” This TSIA proposal gave $700 to the base of all teachers from steps 6A and down, meaning down the page, to teachers with more experience. Those teachers have not received any TSIA (state) money for the past two years. Teachers 1A-5B would receive $1200 in TSIA. The district is required to report their TSIA implementation to the FLDOE tomorrow, December 1st.

We then worked in caucus, in session #8, to come up with a better pay for performance plan for our teachers. This was our P4P plan:

Annual: $1500    PSC: $1125   (11/29/2022)                      

               $1125             $843                                          

This MCEA counter proposal dropped the cost to the district from $1.9 million to $1.6 million. We came down about $300,000.

Let’s remember, a negotiation is a give and take, right? The district budgeted well over $2 million for salaries. While we would have appreciated the district spending $1.9, we understood that it was a starting point. We were told that we were “close” in session #7 with the $1.9. The district’s starting point was about $1.3 million.

Whew! That was just a recap for those of you who missed the beginning of the game.

This is how session #9 started.

The district rejected the proposal from last night. They presented two counter proposals. The one with the $700 to base for teachers on 6A and down (Veterans) reduced the P4P as follows:

Annual: $1200              PSC: $900

               $900                         $700

The cost to the district was still about $1.3 million

The 2nd proposal cut the TSIA dollars to veteran teachers (6A and down) to $300. The P4P was as follows:

Annual: $1500            PSC: $1100

               $ 1100                    $800

The cost to the district was still in the $1.3 million range.

The MCEA team then caucused to reassess. We then presented the following counter proposal.

We let the district know that we were sticking with the agreed upon TSIA plan from last night of $1200 and $700.

We then proposed the following P4P:

Annual: $1400          PSC: $ 1050

                $1050                  $785

We cut our proposal by another $100,000. The district team responded that they did not have the authority to spend more than $1.3 million.

 So much for a negotiation….

I commented that the teachers in Martin County did not get ANY raises in 2019/20. We were told to trust the district. We will address it next year.

I commented that veteran teachers in Martin County got very little in raises in 20/21($800-1200). That was the year that the TSIA kicked in and starting salaries were raised from $38,600 to $45,200. We were told to trust the district. We will work on it next year. In 21/22, annual contract teachers received $2400 and $1800. PSC received $1200 and $900. 

Gary Simmons, our Chief Negotiator, eloquently closed the session.  The state has contributed $1.5 million to teacher salaries. Our community has graciously contributed over $9 million in referendum dollars to teacher salaries.  Can the district not contribute $1.6 million to THEIR employees?

 
Session #8 11/29/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30pm

The MCEA Team headed back to the table with the MCSD for session #8. The Chief Negotiator for the district started with a summary of the last session. At that session, there was disagreement between the parties regarding the statute by which we are bound. The chief negotiators, CFO, and I met earlier in week to discuss statute.

Carter Morrison, Assistant Superintendent of Finance then presented the districts proposals A & B with the MCEA proposal sided by side. He indicated where the district felt that we were not compliant with statute. The TSIA was the biggest issue with the numbers we applied. He then showed both district and MCEA performance proposals.  Once that was explained and additional questions were asked and answered, our Team caucused. We agreed that option B TSIA proposal from the district was the most beneficial to all our members. We then worked in caucus to come up with a better P4P plan.

The District’s P4P previously presented was:

Annual $1200 HE                       PSC   $ 900  HE                              

              $900   Effective                       $450  effective

The MCEA Team countered with the following P4P:

Annual: $1500  HE                         PSC $1200  HE             * Because they did not meet the 75% rule, the

               $1200  effective                    900   effective       the $1200 became $1125, and $900>  $843                                                                               

These exact numbers meet the letter of the law.

In addition to the pay for performance, using TSIA funds, starting salary would be increase to $48,700

In addition to P4P, teachers on steps 1A-5C would get a base increase of $1200

In addition to P4P, teachers on steps 6A down the schedule would get an increase of $700.

The increase in P4P brought our proposal to almost $1.7 million in district funds. All previous district proposals came in at a little over $1.3 million. The MCEA proposals started at about $2.1.

Right now, we are right in the middle with the union’s proposal.    

These raises, coupled with the tentatively agreed upon Millage amounts, give us a solid package for all teachers.

 
Session #7 11/17/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

MCEA headed back to the bargaining table with the MCSD for session # 7 for 2022/23 collective bargaining . Here are the highlights:

1- Millage MOU- We came to a tentative agreement and signed off on the Millage MOU! All the amounts presented to you all in previous summaries are the same. We just cleaned up some language. The payouts will be in one lump sum. Payout to be first pay date in September of 2023. The true-up will be the first pay date in December of 2023.

2. Bonus for recruiting bus drivers- We held off on agreeing to the MOU to give $500 referral fee to teachers for recruiting bus drivers. We would like to discuss this with our brothers and sister of the AFSCME Unit.

3. Salary proposal- We presented two salary proposals. One mirrored our previous proposal. However, last session we never presented a new schedule showing an increase to the base to $48,520. We did so tonight. We proposed TSIA dollars of $1020 levels 1A-5B and 5C and down on schedule(more experience) $1360. We presented two versions of P4P:

Option C                                                                     Option D

Annual- $1800 HE, $1350 Effective                       same

PSC-       $1350 for HE and Effective                    $1350 HE, $1260 effective

After over an hour of caucus, Gary Simmons, our Chief negotiator, and I were called in by the attorney/chief negotiator for the district. She wanted to explain that the district's interpretation of Florida statute and that of the MCEA are different when it comes to the P4P of PSC teachers as it relates to starting salary. There is just no point in bargaining this further without having our FEA bargaining experts involved in the discussion with the district's chief negotiator/attorney. We agreed to “huddle” to dissect the statute. We will get this done prior to the next session

Our next session is scheduled for November 29th @ 4:32 at the main board room at the old district office on East Ocean Blvd. We have another session scheduled for the 30th at 4:32, also at 500 E Ocean Blvd. It’s possible the venue could change for the 30th.

Session #6 11/2/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

Millage: The district changed a piece of language that was not brought up, nor discussed, at the last session. In session # 5, the district said they were amenable to the MOU presented by the MCEA. There were minor clean-ups and clarification items that needed to be fixed, for example, agreed upon dates for lump sum payout. What the district did tonight was add language, more specifically, indicating that an employee needed to be in good-standing at the time of the award. The district’s definition of good standing and our definition of “in good standing” are not in alignment. Our team will discuss this.

Salary: The district indicated that according to the FLDOE, our proposal was not compliant, specifically as it relates to starting salary. According to the FLDOE, starting salary on the new hirer placement schedule must be increased. We were in the belief that based on our salary proposal, both with TSIA and P4P, we did just that. However, we did not present a new hire schedule. In years past, when the raises were applied to each cell, that did increase the starting salary. Then, teachers with P4P moved up the scale accordingly. The application of TSIA complicates the schedule. There are three requirements to meet. As a team, we will explore our application and determine if we simply left off a piece of language that would apply to the new hirer placement schedule, which again, was historically one document. We will be accessing our bargaining specialist as we review our proposal from session # 5 and district’s proposal from session #6.

District proposed the following P4P raises:

The law dictates the 50/50 split from TSIA

Option A: Use all first 50% of TSIA ($548,039) money to raise base minimum to $48,700. Then use remaining 50% + $1,300,000(district funds) for performance pay. Minimum base now is $47,500

There are 631 HE annual contract teachers. There are 84 effective annual contract teachers

Annual HE $1800       cost= $1,135,800.00

              Eff   $ $1350              $113,400.00

There are 280 HE PSC teachers.  There are 24 effective PSC teachers.

  PSC:     HE: $900         cost= $252,000.00

              EFF. $ $450                 $ 10,800.00

Option B: Use first 50% of TSIA to raise base minimum to $48,700.

Then use remaining 50% to give a $700 raise to base from 6A up the schedule. (>more experience) Cost of this part of raise is $560,039

Annual HE  $1200          cost= $757,200.00           

            EFF  $900                          $75,600

PSC      HE    $900            cost= $252,000.00

             EFF  $450                         $ 10,800.00

Total costs are not including fringe, which is about 30%

It is difficult to determine the total raise proposed by the district because the TSIA application, in either of these scenarios, was not presented in a hard copy. At first glance, it appears that TSIA would be given to everyone up to 5B. We will need to examine that.

This is all so complicated! Bear with us as our team dissects the district’s proposal to understand the bottom line for all of our teachers. We shall seek the expertise of our bargaining specialists who work in many counties so that we may gain a broader understanding of the proposals and our options moving forward.

Session #5 10/25/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

Millage MOU- The MCEA last session omitted dates for payouts. We resubmitted our proposal. The millage awards did not change. See previous update. We modified the payout dates to first pay date in September, and for the true-up the first pay date in December. We could have signed off but there was a bit more clean -up to be fixed regarding payout for retirees. It will mirror the old retiree language but with the payout dates fixed to reflect a one lump sum, rather than spread out throughout the year. It will be ready to go for signatures next session.

Salary Raises- The MCEA proposal had to be submitted in a different format. In addition to the TSIA dollars, $1360 PSC and $ 1020 annual, we changed the raises a bit to imitate language in other districts which have been accepted and approved by the state. We also put in a provision to prevent leap-frogging by new hires to district.

Annual Contract    HE        $1800 

                            Effective   $1350

PSC - $ 1350 (for all, not based on performance)

Gary Simmons, our Chief negotiator, presented approximately ten state approved contracts submitted by other locals. So, those teachers on PSC would receive the same award based on our revised proposal.

The total cost of this salary package is about $3.3 million dollars, including the TSIA allocation ($1,210,739).

We felt it was a very productive session. The MCEA Team and the MCSD team worked collaboratively to clean up language and really think through the salary proposals in order to be state compliant.  

Thank you to all the teachers who attended the session. The Team really appreciates the support and feedback during caucus.

Session #4 10/18/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

Article VIII- Evaluations- We tentatively agreed to the language proposed by the district. This was explained in session

# 2 update. It’s all good!

TSIA allocation- The MCEA countered with similar language to Indian River School District. All teachers will receive TSIA (state funds) to increase salary. The MCEA proposed language to give additional dollars to teachers on PSC contract, $1360, because they were left out of the first two allocations. Teachers on annual contract will receive $1020. W could be a few dollars off on these numbers. We did not have printed copies as we created the schedule during a caucus. The district needs to verify with the state that we are compliant with law.

Salary raises- The MCEA proposed P4P raises as follows:

* Annual- HE- $1800   Effective - $1200 effective

   PSC         HE- $1350   Effective - $1150

Millage- The district would not be able to start the millage in January 2023 with millage in regular checks. The MCEA Team proposed another counter MOU to have the payout in one lump sum as we have been doing for the past four years. The date of payout is in discussion. See update # 2 or #3 for amounts. We also proposed language that if a teacher was non-renewed and rehired that they would get the millage if they started employment or are in processing by September 1st. Again, the date may change. If a teacher teaches the academic year, is renewed and is employed by district (even outside the bargaining unit) they would be eligible for the millage for the previous year.

Session #3 10/18/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

Millage- This part of the discussion was difficult to follow by phone as I could not easily view the MOU from district. They were amenable to the amounts, however the discussion regarding payout of the millage was complicated. The goal of the bargaining team is to get millage payouts into the hands of the teachers as soon as possible. The payout dates proposed by the district need to be looked at. I will give you an update once we discuss it as a team.

Salary raises- There was a Rep meeting last night. At this point, the Reps should have a copy of the proposal. They received an explanation from Gary Simmons at the meeting. I was not provided a link with the proposal. As a refresher from session # 2, MCEA proposed raises of between $1500, step 1- $1760. Starting at step 5C, MCEA proposed $2000. (This was inclusive of TSIA money).

The districts proposal is not clear to me. I was unable to get on Zoom due to no internet.

The MCSD countered with raises for annual contract at $1200 HE, to $600 effective. Teachers on Professional Services contract would get $600 for HE and $300 for effective. It indicates on the salary schedule that it is after TSIA dollars are applied. See notes from session # 2 with TSIA allocations.

The picture of the salary schedule proposed by district does not make sense to me. It was difficult following on the phone. 

Once I get paper copies of these proposals and verify with my team the intent of the district, I will be able to answer questions. For now, I do not think I can answer specific questions. However, I did not want to leave you hanging without any update so I did the best I could. 

Our team will be meeting on Saturday or Sunday to go over the proposals.

Session #2 10/11/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

1. Salary- District presented their updated document using the TSIA money from the state. This time around, all teachers were eligible to receive TSIA dollars because we did reach $47,500 during the 21/22 negotiations. The TSIA dollars took starting salary to $48,700. Raises were between $300- $1200. The MCEA proposal added dollars from the district’s general fund to bring starting salary up to $49,000. The total raises that we proposed (including TSIA $$) ranged from $1500 (step 1A) to - $2000 going down the scale. Starting at level 5c (those who are making $47,800), exclusive of new TSIA, the raises were $2000 all the way to the bottom of the schedule. This product, if accepted by both sides, would give a permanent raise to the base for all teachers.

Additionally, MCEA put two figures on the table of $1million-$1.5 million for the district to use as additional pay for performance. 

2. Millage MOU- The District was not amenable to the MCEA’s proposal. We modified it during a 1.5-hour caucus.

MCEA’s new proposal for Millage:

1-5 years= $1800

6-9 years = $ 5000

10-13 years= $8500

14+ years= $10,050

The rest of the language remained the same.

3. Article VIII- Evaluations

The district proposed two changes:

*Added all elements from the Marzano protocol to be used for Deliberate practice (instead of just ten), starting next year as DPs already finalize.

* For category 1B teachers (2-3 years’ experience)- Currently, there is an informal in the fall, followed by a formal evaluation. In the spring, there is one informal evaluation, which is non-evaluative. The district proposed to put both informals in the fall, prior to the formal evaluation. Unless the teacher requests a second formal evaluation, the teacher will have completed their observations in the fall. 

The MCEA was accepting of the language. For those that are fairly new to the process, please reach out to your administrator or your Rep for clarification on the evaluation process.

I have received many emails about the retro-pay and the salary increases for the pay negotiated in 21/22. I believe the district sent out an email stating, in part, “beginning in October”, the retro raises and new salaries will be paid out. Teachers assumed it was the first check, however it did not say “in the beginning of October”. I believe that in one of my previous emails I indicated that the retro pay should be in the last check of October. The departments of HR, Finance/Payroll, and ET are working together (“sequestered”) Wed-Friday of this week to input the numbers in Skyward.

Session #1 10/4/22 Stuart Learning Center at 4:30 PM

The MCEA bargaining team headed back to the table with the Martin County School District to commence negotiations for the 2022/23 contract. Our goal is to streamline negotiations, not to drag it out. We have had many conversations with the District's leadership team and the are committed to the same.

The District opened with proposing and MOU to increase tutoring stipend from $25 per hour to $50 per hour. The increase would be funded with ESSER dollars and would need state approval(technicality) . The MCEA signed off on the agreement.

The priority of the MCEA for the first session was to negotiate the recently approved Millage referendum allocation. When negotiated in 2018, it took two sessions. We hope to accomplish it in the same. 

The MCEA presented the following proposal for Millage allocation:

1-5 years- $1800

6-9              5,000

10+             8,500

PSC           $12,000

No level has a proposed decrease. Level three would receive an increase of  $700. We added a new level for teachers on Professional Services Contract as they have been receiving smaller raises, per statute, since 2015/16.

For those hired in district after 2018, I want to give you a little bit of history. When the millage referendum was first approved, the calculated allocations were as follows:

1-5= $1,000

6-9= 5k

10+ = $8,000

As a leadership team, we felt that starting teachers should get more. As an E-Board/Negotiations team, we felt we should take $200 from 10+ years and add it to level 1-5 to give those teachers an additional $800. As a collective, we voted to ratify this allocation as we are a unified body and senior teachers wanted to give starting teachers more in referendum money. 

The tides have turned. TSIA allocations have designated millions of dollars to starting teachers, to the tune that a first year teacher makes the same salary as a teacher of twenty years. We must follow the law with TSIA dollars. There is no way around it. But, with millage referendum, we can get those twenty year veteran teachers, with a professional services contract(hired in 2008), a well deserved supplement to their income. 

The MCEA Team is dedicated to a quick agreement for 22/23 negotiations. The district did  indicate that at the next session, they would be opening article VIII, Evaluations, with a proposal. Article VIII was opened last year by MCEA. Just know this, our RAISES are based on our evaluations, which makes evaluations a mandatory subject of bargaining, per PERC, Public Employees Relations Commission.