October 16, 2020

HEA Negotiations Update – October 16, 2020

HEA Members:

First, the bargaining team wants to thank each and every one of you for all that you have done this fall to continue to make the Helena School District a great place to learn. The extra hours that you have spent on your classes, overcoming the frustrating technology components, and learning new platforms has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by the Union! You are the most valuable component to the school system. Thank you!

We have started this school year working under our 2019-2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement. HEA and HSD have come to a tentative agreement on much of the language pieces of the CBA, and we believe that the changes will be beneficial to teachers. While the HEA team presented a number of salary options this spring, nothing has been accepted by the district. We have waited almost 8 weeks for a response to our last rejected offer.

We are now working in a smaller group format to try to jump start the negotiations. At...

May 13, 2020

Educator of the Year nominees

click each name to review autobiography

Chris Nevinski

Amy Ott

Susan Robinson

Lisa Waterman

Para Educator of the Year nominees

click each name to review autobiography

Jennifer Bauer

Cindy Curran

Chris Findley

Dianna Greenman

Elizabeth Grev

Chris Mundt

Madeleine Roberg

Kari Skadberg

Leighann Wilson

April 24, 2020

As most of you are aware, the HEA and the HSD bargaining teams met virtually on Thursday, April 23.  We first discussed some contract language proposals where we have some tentative agreements:  We will be deleting all language references to the old salary matrix, as we no longer have any teachers on that salary matrix; definitions for the words "school," "business," and "calendar" days; and some other small changes that we are still working through.  We discussed three big proposals from the district to: determine a "building" as a physical building and K-12 Special Education, Nursing, Music, Physical Education, Counseling, and Library for purposes of assignment and transfer--HEA opposes this language as it is not the will of the members; have teachers complete the online transfer form between Nov. 1 and Jan. 20--HEA opposes this language as it seriously limits our members access to transfers; and have teachers supervise playground time at the discretion of the District--HEA opposes t...

April 7, 2020

Autobiographies are hyperlinked.

President nominees:

Jane Shawn

Kim Stout

1st VP nominees:

Carrie Brown

Maria Foot

Jonna Schwartz

CHS seat nominees:

Reg Hageman

Zach Harris

HHS seat nominees:

Shannin Preshinger

Deb Sargent

February 12, 2020

January 28, 2020:  Todd Watkins gave his budget report to the Board of Trustees.  His report can be found in the Board's Work Session Agenda dated 1/28/20 or go here:


His report is the last six pages and his recommendations are on the last two pages.  One Trustee asked if the budget problems were the effect of the teachers' salary scale, or the loss of students to East Helena--Todd didn't know the answer to this question.

January 30, 2020: Budget Summit.  We had two parts to our conversation: one a report by Business Manager Janelle Mickelson that showed us enrollment projections and how these are estimated; the other a report by Human Resource Director Stacy Collette about staffing numbers and costs that come out of the general fund.  We learned a lot that day, but felt we needed more information as we move forward.  We do know that we will have a reduction in POSITIONS at...

December 20, 2019

Programs are over, parties are done, and now it's time for the real fun to begin!  I hope everyone enjoys this nice long break--whether you are traveling to see family, hosting a dinner with friends and neighbors, or just putting your feet up and reading your new book--I wish you a joyous and restful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and New Years!  (I hope I didn't forget any celebrations!)  Relax, make merry, and I'll see you back refreshed and ready to go in 2020!


December 9, 2019

Happy Monday!

The ongoing bargaining team met on Wednesday.  Some key points:

--We are considering lowering the number of years that we will grant new hires for teaching experience, from 10 years to five years.  This will help save costs from the general fund.  

--Hard to fill positions may have to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

--We looked at leave time taken: 70 fewer sick leaves day and 111 more professional days taken for the same period, first quarter, 2018 and 2019.  We are collecting this information for a wider discussion around training and grade level meetings.  Question:  would you give up a "choice" PIR day for an added required day in our calendar that was devoted to in-district training?

--We are looking at the cost of all the district testing and computer programs--are they still the best, is there a better, more cost efficient option out there?

--We are looking at the number of students in high school classes, cost effectiveness vs c...

November 25, 2019


Thank you for everything that you do each and every day on behalf of our students, our families, our district, and our union.  You have the most important job in the world--and often the most demanding.  Every day you come to school and something amazing happens--that "aha" moment when your student "gets it"; that day you finally break through to the child who has been resistant; that minute that your kiddo gives you a hug and says "I'm glad to be here!"  

You probably don't hear it often enough, but I know that so many people out there think it: Thank you!  Thank you for what you do.  Thank you for what you give up to do what you do.  Thank you for caring about children.  Thank you for caring about education.

Enjoy your well deserved holiday break.  Safe travels to those of you who will be on the road.  Enjoy your family and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving!


November 20, 2019

Results of HEA Bargaining Survey

November 18, 2019

394 Respondents (out of 593 members) 66% of membership

Many people have said that an increase to the salary scale is the most important item for bargaining. Is this true for you?

58%      Yes, an increase to the salary matrix is a must

28%      I would be great with my salary step increase and a $1000 bonus

18%      No, I think the salary matrix is fine as is

Would you be interested in seeing a new salary scale for existing employees?

23%      Yes

40%      Maybe

37%      No

Would you be interested in seeing a new salary scale for new employees?

30%      Yes

52%      Maybe

18%      No

Would you be interested in a salary scale that is higher for those with advanced degrees (as opposed to the stipend system now in use)? (More like a traditional steps and lanes scale.)


November 8, 2019

Congratulations to those folks who were able to take advantage of the Retirement Incentive offered this fall. I wish every one of you the best as you move into the next chapter of life--whatever that may be! I know that HSD is losing very talented and dedicated educators. On behalf of the HEA, I want to thank you for your years of service to our students, our school district, and our union. You will be missed!

HEA and HSD has been working on a new transfer form (thank you Kelly Elder!) which will be available online soon.  We anticipate that there may be quite a bit of movement, so make sure that you start thinking about where you would like to be next year.  If you are even considering a possible move, or have a dream job in mind, make sure that you put in for a transfer, even if that particular position is not currently open--you never know, it just may open up.  As soon as the transfer form is live, I will let you know by email.

Bargaining season is upon us.  Our first meeti...

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