top of page

Teacher Bargaining 6-6-23

Teacher Bargaining June 6, 2023

Roll Call: HPS: Josh McKay, Brian Cummings, Keri Mizell, Joslyn Davidson, Jill Nyman, Nick Radley, Cal Boyle, Brett Zanto, Wynn Randall. HEA: Jane Shawn, Anna Alger, Paul Phillips, Adam Clinch, Jonna Schwartz, Jake Warner, Erika McMillin.

4:03 Review of Norms

HPS Counter Proposal

- Review of HEA Proposal (from 5/30/23) and review of HPS values

- Cost out of HEA Proposal:

o 2023-2024 salary increase = $945,155

o 2024-2025 salary increase = $1,925,438

o Note: all is in addition to guaranteed steps

o 2023-2024 insurance cover = $861,000

o 2024-2025 insurance cover = $861,000

o Two year total = $4,592,593

o HEA, clarifying for 24/25: the increase of $125 per month, depending on what plan is proposed, could save the distridt money.

- HPS adjustments to interlocal (savings):

o $200,000 difference from last proposal

o Year 1 - $1.8 million additional

o Year 2 interlocal balance at end of 2025-2026: $4,206,000 (approx.)

- How much does each HEA change save over 2 years:

o Tuition and Fees = $24,000

o Sabbatical = $146,000 (cost of employee who replaces)

o BC frozen salary = $0

o Montessori Stipend = $2,000 per year

o $30.56 hourly pay = $0

o Steps 1-4 movement = $74,000 short term (HPS: since there aren’t a lot of people in these lanes, the movement is tough to figure out)

o Total = $248,000

o Long term total = $2,000

- How much does the HPS proposal cost:

o 2023-2024 @ .5% = $189,031

o 2024-2025 @ .5% = $381,307

o Total = $570,338

o Salary increase if levies pass 2023-2024 = $189,031

o Salary increase if levies pass 2024-2025 = $573,583

o Two-year total = $762, 614

o Steps have cost of 2% and lanes have cost 2%. This is over $1,000,000.

- Fast Growth Salary Matrix Challenge

o If half of current 74 FTE at Lane 1 go to MA = $518,000

o If half of current 219 FTE at Lane 5 go to MA + BC = $1,368,750

o Total = $1,886,750

- “Our district has some difficult planning days ahead of us. We need to solve a budget deficit by reprogramming our district in various ways, which will be difficult or stakeholders.”

- New Proposal (exact same as last proposal):

o Lane movement: one lane per year maximum starting in 2024-2025

o 2 20-minute supervision sessions beginning in 2024-2025

o .5% in 2023-2024

o .5% in 2024-2025, with an additional .5% if levies pass

o No increase on insurance

o Keep the previous TA items

o Suspend Tuition and Fees and Sabbatical for 2024-2025, 2025-2026

o BC expires = frozen salary

o Montessori Stipend expires

o $30.56 hourly pay rate

o Package offer

o “This is our offer.”

HEA: Do we know how much the inflationary increase projections are?

HPS: It’s attached to enrollment.

HEA: How is enrollment projected to change?

HPS: Five year budget forecast: 2023-2024—elementary gets $800,000 and high school gets $400,000 approximately. The declining enrollment means we lose $54,971.

For 2024-2025: elementary gets $954,572 and high school gets $347,760.

HEA: If you go up 2.7% and 3.0%, it has to be more than this. We are trying to see how much the budget is increasing by the state. The argument is that the legislature will tell us that teachers get an increase based on the inflationary money. This doesn’t seem proportional.

HPS: The overall budget and budget authority are different. We don’t necessarily get the 2.7% and 3% straight up. Part of the five-year forecasts, when accounting for the money from the state, has contingencies built in.

HEA: How much are we telling teachers that they are taking a cut on based on what the state has allotted to go toward inflationary increases toward pay? So, when the state tells us that we are getting 2.7% and 3%.

HPS: The state increases don’t even pay the steps and lanes increases.

HEA: We keep talking about recess and the money associated with it. So, we aren’t getting an increase, yet we are asked to add to our workload. What is the purpose of this? It’s making teachers’ jobs more difficult. We’re saying there’s no money for an increase, but you need us to work more. We don’t know the monetary benefit or the reasoning.

HPS: We need to reprogram in the next couple of years. That means that solving a 6 million dollar deficit means changing the workload of every employee.

HEA: Why, if budget consensus is to make recommendations, and they haven’t met to make a recommendation, are we talking about this now?

HPS: Regardless of the outcome of this negotiations, elementary will be faced with 2.8 million dollar reduction next year. that is 100% reality. And it will come out of three spots: staffing, facilities, and programming. Do we have staffing at elementary that exceeds—in a good way—accreditation standards? Absolutely. It’s fantastic, but there will have to be flexibility. A teacher’s, para’s, librarian’s, nurse’s, secretaries, admin.’s day will look different.

HEA: Putting this into contract language isn’t flexible. .5% and .5% as a raise with this extra work doesn’t feel good. There’s no such thing as cost neutral—for every dollar you save by not doing cost of living, that’s a negative in terms of good will from teachers and a negative in terms of teachers’ budgets. We have to take something to membership that will pass. We get that you’ve wanted teachers working recess for a long time. This isn’t the time. We’ve come down a long way—we’ve come toward you a lot.

HPS: We wouldn’t say we want teachers working recess. The supervision is the issue. We want them to have prep, but as liabilities and safety of students arise, we have to do what’s best. As we get into this piece, if we are making cuts, and we reduce paras, we don’t have a lot of options.

HEA: On a daily basis, do we have underserved recess?

HPS: It’s moving forward. We are bargaining for two years. In 25/26, when we have one para for 200 kids on a playground, that’s where we will be at.

HEA: If you take 20 minutes twice a week, that’s a significant amount of time—24 hours of planning time. What have you tried to give us back—like giving us PLC Mondays strictly as planning time? You’re taking our money, our time, our workloads, and giving us nothing back. We’ve given a lot and seen nothing in return. There doesn’t seem to be a good faith “if you do this for us, we’ll do this for you.”

HPS: We’ve done what’s best for kids for the last decade. No one’s job is getting easier.

HEA: This is a morale issue. How much have you calculated the extra duty sessions to be in terms of savings. Last week, we determined there is 0 savings.

HPS: We do feel like we’ve been a good employer in terms of salaries. We did the checking on daily rate:

2020-2021 $298.85 (full), $149.43 (half)

2021-2022 $328.61 (full), $164.30 (half)

2022-2023 $343.40 (full), $171.90 (half)

When you do the % increase, that’s large. This includes everything—steps and lanes. If you look at this, this matches the 15% growth in salary. The gains in the last few years are big. This is one of the reasons we feel good about salaries.

HEA: This number didn’t change until it was affecting the district.

HPS: The daily rate is only for those contributing to retirement.

HEA: So that number didn’t change for those who are contributing? This is not at all what the contract says. It’s not the information that we asked for. We asked simply what the average daily rate for all teachers is. We can’t seem to get that number. This number affects your retirement contribution.

HPS: We agreed to post it by October 1. We have what Angie gave us from May.

HEA: That’s not the number that was on the slide.

HPS: It’s not the number HEA gave, either.

HEA: What’s the monetary inflationary increase for next year?

HPS: $1.659 million for elementary and for high school it’s negative $55,000. That’s where we get the change in our budget.

HEA: That’s a 2.58% increase, roughly. Salaries are 90% of the budget—vast majority. But out of this, we are allotting .5%, which is about a 75% decrease.

HPS: We have to consider steps. Steps eat up any kind of increase. The inflationary increase doesn’t even cover steps and lanes.

HEA: We saw that the budget is impacted 2% based on steps. Does that account for resignations and retirements and leaves?

HPS: Yes, but our data is based on the last two years’ worth of data. Steps are about 2% and lanes are an additional 2%. We take the average of what we see. Under PCAP, it was a 2-2.5% step increase per year. Under the new system it’s different.

HEA: We can’t argue what happened. But the way pay scales work, things ebb and flow. How do other districts do it?

HPS: Billings is having the same issue and are trying to slow growth. Bozeman is having a similar challenge. Missoula is the same—they are seeing the horizontal movement triple. Their step and lane movements are half of what we see—we are around 4% and they are around 2%.

HEA: Their matrices have been in place longer.

HPS: This is the reality, but it’s not anything teachers did. We are underfunded for AA. It’s true all over—Bozeman, Billings, Missoula. We need prioritized, competitive salaries so we get the best teachers. Helena set the bar, but the funding system to back that up has never improved. It’s not going to get better. We can’t run in the red.

HEA: There are decisions that are made at the admin. level that we aren’t privy to. When we add and change things that cost more money and teachers can’t get an increase, that’s hard to swallow.

HPS: No one is getting paid less.

HEA: With insurance costs, it’s not. My step increase isn’t as much as the increasing insurance.

HPS: Can you give an example of what’s being added?

HEA: Choices are being made to add positions and jobs.

HPS: Those don’t come out of general fund.

HEA: We know the money situation is bad. It’s hard when there is no raise and language changes that will potentially make our jobs worse. It’s hard to wrap one’s head around a $2,000 per year language savings. We know the funding is inadequate, but the validity of the statement that other districts are in the same position when Bozeman and Great Falls agreed to 4% and Missoula agreed to 1.5%. That’s not the same budget deficit that we are experiencing, apparently. When everywhere else seems to be in a better situation, it's hard to trust the validity of the statements being made.

HPS: We know it’s hard and we can’t share too many details. One district pays approx. $600 per month for insurance; we pay around $900. Each budget, building, etc. is set up differently. What we pay for steps and lanes is double what other districts pay. It’s not an apples to apples to comparison. Regarding Bozeman, the 4% increase isn’t just on the matrix. It’s part of steps and lanes, too.

HEA: In our years of tracking this, that’s not what we’ve ever seen. If a percentage increase is advertised, that figure is added to each cell. Bozeman still got a 4% increase on the salary schedule. They got a 4% and a 2%.

HPS: Have you looked at the number of elementaries, the number of paras, if teachers are doing recess, if every kid gets 2 Musics and PEs per week? How healthy is it to compare?

HEA: Three years ago, we were asked to create a new matrix. At that time, we did a landscape view, this is appropriate. After that, all the little things previously mentioned should have been considered when crafting and accepting the new matrix.

HPS: What’s your solution? We agreed that we were going to manage the matrix through language.

HEA: We understood that savings may not be realized for up to four years. We never heard that we would have to alter foundational aspects. This is when things broke down and Bea was representing the district. There was no discussion years ago about potentially slowing the growth of the matrix.


HEA: We appreciate you going over the slides again. At this point, the offer from the district was the same—no change. Under those circumstances, we were in touch with our field consultant, and we believe that this is bargaining in bad faith. Each time we have made an offer, we have moved closer to the district. That has not happened in return. So, we would like to reconvene when the district has something else.

HPS: We don’t feel we are bargaining in bad faith. This is our last, best, and final, and we feel we should go to mediation as our next step—as soon as possible. We can come together to figure out what that looks like.

HEA: We don’t see another option, besides mediation, is available.

bottom of page