©2019 by helena education association.

Bargaining Update

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.)

 

42%      Yes

26%      Maybe

31%      No

 

Comments that had the most impact without cutting TEACHING positions—although please consider the impact each would have:

  • Testing that we are spending a lot of money on (and mostly not required through ESSA): STAR, ACT Aspire, district writing assessment

  • Training by outside consultants

  • Training that takes teachers out of the classroom, therefore having lots of sub costs and not being able to take earned leave

  • Building level coordinators and literacy coaches

  • Real estate (empty buildings, consolidating buildings)

  • District grade level meetings (at least full day)

  • Central admin is seen as having too many administrators

  • Sabbatical program

  • Office 365, replace with Google which is free

  • Programs that are expensive and maybe not the best out there (Success Maker)

  • 4-day school week

  • Redistricting

  • Fix the issue of small classes (5-10 kids) at the HS level

 

As the bargaining team moves forward, we will be considering all of the following questions for each and every cost savings measure:

  1. How much is it costing financially?

  2. What is the benefit/drawback to students, staff?

  3. How many students are affected?

  4. How will it affect things 2 years, 5 years, 10 years?

  5. Is there a more cost-effective course, version, etc.?

  6. How will the community react?

  7. How will this affect the culture of the school/district?

 

Other comments that were brought forth by several members (that may or may not be budget related):

  • Don’t touch teaching positions (other than the ones we will lose due to the opening of EHHS)

  • Bonus money does not go towards retirement—unacceptable

  • So many days being closed to personal leave

  • Administrative salaries, matrixes, and raises (current and historical) are not transparent

  • Duties of MBC administrators and staff more clearly defined

  • Teachers having to cover classes without compensation (there is no double-dipping if they are having to do their prep on their own time)

 

This is a link to a great article that may help you understand how state school funding works:

 

https://billingsgazette.com/opinion/editorial/gazette-opinion-how-state-law-shortchanges-billings-
schools/article_440d656f-6515-5f20-90df-37bf51f431e3.html

 

The bargaining team asked many questions in the survey and in reading the comments, meeting with members, and receiving emails, we realize that the majority of our membership would like us to look at cost savings measures that do NOT cut any teaching positions other than those that we know will happen with the opening of EHHS.  Therefore, the above are the most referenced comments from members surrounding cost savings methods outside of programs that directly benefit students and that have dedicated teaching positions. 

 

We will be delving into the budget in-depth to determine where the “pots” of money are in the district and what can be funded out of each “pot.”  This work will take us into the spring of 2020. 

 

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey, sent an email, or met with an HEA building rep or the HEA president.  We were very pleased with the number of responses and the thoughtfulness of our members.  We all hope that you stay as engaged as you are now as we move through the bargaining process.  Please do not hesitate to contact the HEA president (jshawn@helenaschools.org) with any questions or comments!

 

Jane, Kelly, Maria, Shanna, Erika, and Jonna

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