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Teacher Bargaining, May 18, 2023

Teacher Bargaining May 18, 2023

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

8:10 Reviewed Norms

ARTICLE 2.4, Class 4 License _______________________________________

HSD: talked a lot last time about Class 4—committee and intent of language. What HEA proposed is to move language from 2.4 to 2.2. Language proposal is just a slight rewrite and movement.

TA: Language change and movement

ARTICLE 5.2, Sick Leave and Personal Leave _____________________________

HSD: recognizes family looks different. We want to be flexible but give principals guidance and be responsible with the paid leave we are providing.

HEA: we proposed to add definitions at the beginning of 5.2.

HSD: we haven’t decided to tie both definitions to sick and bereavement. HSD proposes both definitions for sick and bereavement, but give 5 days of bereavement throughout school year. Once days are used, they can utilize their current year sick/personal leave. Can’t go into sick leave bank. HSD added language that discretionary leave can be used for funeral attendance (I.e., in town, or an afternoon of discretionary leave and then a bereavement day) can be for discretionary leave.

HEA: clarifying question, the addition of definitions is contingent on agreement to HSD proposal? (Yes.)

HEA: we aren’t in agreement to this proposal. The leave information that we got—2.2 days per year per teacher who take bereavement leave (not for every teacher)—indicates there isn’t a problem with bereavement leave.

HSD: if management agreed to take out discretionary leave for funeral, does that change HEA’s position?

HEA: it’s about the five days—we don’t see that as a problem now. We don’t see that it’s being abused.

Discussion circled back to this issue. Talk of an MOU and other options took place—creating bereavement leave donation bank, expanding sick leave, or using reserve sick leave.

HSD: how we currently budget for bereavement—we look at trends. Don’t look at how many days of bereavement are taken each year.

Current contract language will stay in place.

ARTICLE 14.2, Mandatory Plan of Improvement ___________________________

HSD: Keri and Jane worked on this to provide more clarity. It seemed counterintuitive that there are two names for plans.

(For consistency, the term “mandatory plan of improvement” will be changed to “plan of assistance.”)

The intent of evaluation is not to be regular teacher eval rubric, but more about whatever was outlined in plan.

Language regarding evaluation of retention or termination will be eliminated, but a summary document “of the teacher’s progress towards the identified weaknesses in the plan will take its place.”

If plan is completed successfully, record goes in supervisor’s file.

TA: language changes

HSD BUDGET PRESENTATION (Superintendent) _________________________

Review of board presentation. Five goals of district, one is fiscal responsibility.

In July 2022, during board retreat, we focused a lot on elementary budget; that’s why priority #4 talks about general fund because high school is something we need to be looking at as well.

In priority #4, district set out to reduce 2.5 million (close to what the ESSER amount we were using). We also determined that this would be a two year process to get to a balanced budget, so we would need to use inter-local funds. Other districts—Billings and Bozeman—have done it in one year.

In January, February, March, we determined 5-year forecast. As we got closer to May, the numbers got more solid. In January, going through contracts and utilities and staff, we were 4.6 and 1.6 million deficit. We knew we had to make changes because general fund wouldn’t support it. We made decisions for next year, knowing we have to make decisions for the following year as well.

We also took steps to: utilize retirements/resignations, non-renewals, moving RBLC, reducing building and district budgets, not bringing back Assistant Supt. Position or the RBLC admin. position.

Elementary is 2.1 million short; high school 1.1 million short.

This year, we have reduced about 2.7 million in elementary and 650,000 in high school.

The second part of the plan is the budget consensus committee.

We want to keep programs in place. That said, we’d like to find other funding sources to offset so we don’t have to keep cutting—tech levy, safety levy, recruiting more students, etc. There’s no max on what we can ask the community for in those levies.

9 million in interlocal at beginning of year; now we are currently at 6.5 million and project 4 million at end of fiscal year. At the end of next school year, we’ll be about $700,000. Property and liability insurance, engineering costs, curriculum, tech, superintendent contingency come out of interlocal.

There is still money in the general fund reserve but it’s hard to tap into. There’s roughly $2, 969, 000 in elementary and $2,114,000 in high school—close to $5 million total. It can’t be used on salaries; it’s more for emergencies. Board wants general fund reserve to be 3-6% of general fund. There’s board policy around this.

The only way to access reserves is to do a budget amendment for which we must qualify under one of six factors.

If district has money left over, it goes into Interlocal within budget authority. If there’s more beyond that, it goes into General Fund Reserves.

The figures and reductions given to Budget Committee are general fund numbers. When budget committee was told the district reduced positions by 34 staff, did that include coaches who aren’t paid out of general fund. The answer is both—currently, they are not paid from General Fund, but would have been next year.

HEA PRESENTATION_______________________________________

HEA doesn’t want to project an insensitivity to the issues in the district; however, we recognize our responsibility to membership and sharing what they are experiencing.

Evolution of salary matrix and inflation’s role: By tracking inflation, BA Step 0 ($40,000) is equivalent to $46,775 today. MA Step 9 ($61,000) is equivalent to $71,332 today. Basically, our matrix is 4-12% behind just in terms of standard of living, depending on where a teacher falls on the scale.

There’s a significant difference between where folks were and where they are now.

Concessions from educators and other concerns: teacher workloads will be increasing—more students and fewer resources.

HEA worked, alongside Melissa Romano, to remove the state inflationary cap of 3%, but HSD was not present/part of the discussion.

The health benefits plan cost is likely to see a 13% increase to teachers, with no additional support from the district. For someone who is BA Step 0 and on premium plan, that person’s costs will increase by $1,500.

The legislature passed inflationary adjustments for 2.7% and 3%, respectively, over the next two years.

HEA proposes a COLA on every cell of 4% for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025. The 4% matches what state employees, MUS employees got, what Great Falls and what Bozeman got. Again, this just covers inflationary increases.


HEA wants to make clear that HSD teachers at the top end DO NOT make far and away more than other districts. Our salary scale may be higher; however, other districts have outside stipends that boost salary while our stipends are embedded.

HSD maintains there are other pieces of data to consider.

HEA: it’s a fact that a teacher in Billings with NBC makes more than a teacher in Helena. That’s a fact, not a manipulation of numbers.

HSD: quoting Dale Janota’s research: Comparison of salary matrices, movement, overall earnings, compared with other districts.

HEA: Helena used to be highest paying district in state. That is no longer true. HEA is concerned about this.

HSD: email communication with principal at Bozeman High. They’re looking to change schedules—alternating block schedule. Wondering what other districts are doing differently to be able to give raises.

HEA: sharing what different districts do is not a hard line; it’s one data point. One thing that is fair is that when we redid the scale, we did the market analysis and recognized that this schedule was competitive for recruitment and retention. Thus, to stay competitive, as other districts increase, we will have to in order to maintain the same competitive aspect.

We read in the paper that Bozeman has done similar reductions and still managed 4% and 2%. Bozeman is still at a deficit of $4 million in elementary.

HSD: we used a different approach to work with legislative issues and advocate rather than testifying in front of the legislature.

HSD: need to talk, consider, and craft a response.

HSD: We’ve heard the board say that they want employee pay to be competitive.

(HSD Caucus)

HSD: district doesn’t accept proposal and doesn’t have a counter at this time.

HEA: we want to make sure we are bargaining in good faith and that the people in this room have the authority to make a proposal.

HSD: people in this room do have the authority.

HSD will bring counter proposal.

ARTICLE 2.4 Additional Duties Compensation ____________________________

HEA: First paragraph addresses teaching duties outside of individual contracts (I.e., summer school, coverage, etc.) We would like this rate to be at the individual teacher’s hourly rate of pay. The second paragraph addresses other duties that are supervisory (I.e., lunch, prep) which would be compensated at Lane 1, Step 0 rate of pay.

HSD: We haven’t talked about this. We have to take this as part of the ask with the 4% wage increase. We need to look at this as part of the overall compensation package.

Discussion will continue.

ARTICLE 4 Professional Growth _____________________________________

HEA: we provided other options for funding (I.e., Title, etc.). the professional development language around Title 2 funds seems to indicate that tuition and fees, sabbatical, and a good portion of new professionalism could be funded out of this.

HSD: OPI says that Title funding can’t be used for sabbaticals. We have approved sabbaticals for 2023-2024 school year. The sabbatical ask is for 2024-2025 and 2025-2026. To maximize our flexibility with how we can spend, we do combine Title 1, 2, 3, and 4 funds. Of our funds, 80-90% goes toward salary. We could have some money available for professional growth, but it has to be tied to state standards.

HEA: Quotes Title 2 funding language. We believe that if we didn’t combine funds, we could use the money differently. If the district won’t un-clump the money, then HEA wants the language to remain as is.

HSD: If we un-clump the money, the use of the money will be impacted further.

(HEA Caucus)

HEA: We would like to consider this once we have a salary proposal from the district. We believe this is an important part of contract for members; they utilize it, and it’s highly beneficial to students.

Discussion will continue.

ACTIVITIES STIPENDS ___________________________________________

There are questions around why some clubs are paid stipends and others not. Also discussion about clubs/stipends that are part of a class or a 6th assignment. There’s been discussion around what constitutes a club and who gets a stipend. There are a lot of clubs in the high schools to consider.

Activities Committee is looking to sunset the 1% increase for new coaches/sponsors and instead give stipend increases that match whatever teacher salary increases are negotiated in those years as long as the activities budget reflects the needed monetary increase.

Current coaches/sponsors could keep their 1% increase or move to the new system.

Discussion will continue following the next Activities meeting.

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