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Teacher Bargaining May 22, 2023

Please note the next meeting date and time at the end of this post. We are urging all HEA members to attend this meeting and to wear green! You will not be able to participate, but we need to show the District that we are a unified front. If there are any changes to the time or location, I will let you know.

Bargaining Meeting: May 22, 2023

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

8:20: Review norms------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8:25: Compensation HPS Counter Proposal-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

HPS: Shared slide presentation. We share our value and passion for all our employees. When we talk about our budget deficit, we are in no way diminishing the value of our staff.

Slide showing cost of HEA request over 2 years:

  • Quick cost out employee salary: $4,615,634 over two years.

  • 2023-2024- $1, 512,249 and 2024-2025- $3, 103,385.

  • This includes the current amount of staffing that we have at this time. Does not include staffing cuts. We want to wait and use the Budget Consensus Committee before considering staffing cuts.

  • Background of salary right now and distribution in salary scale.

HEA: this is really helpful information, but we do not have any other distribution to compare this to? For example, in other districts. HPS: This slide is informational not meant to compare with other districts. The next slide will show comparison over the last 2 years. Slide comparing salary increase trend for 2021-2022 using the teacher count of 2023-2024.

  • % increase in salary over 2 years and average additional salary earned over 2 years per person in each category.

  • Average salary increases: $5,987. Average Percent increase: 9.8%

HEA: Does this comparison include the % increase over the last 2 years and the step increase?

HPS: Yes, it includes all salary increases: the negotiated % increase from last negotiations, the step movement, and the lane movement that was earned through education/certification.

HEA: Considering our negotiated salary percentage increase (4%) from the last two years and including steps over two years (5%) equals nearly 9%. This is not what is reflected in the changes given in the average daily rate for teachers.

HPS: Lane movement has been rapid and frequent, resulting in a significant fiscal impact to the district budget. We asked to go to this matrix to slow down employee pay. Had we known that we would have this significant movement, we would have also included language to slow down increases in employee pay.

Salary Pacing Proposed changes:

  • Lane advancement for non-tenured teachers will be suspended until tenure is established.

  • Allow only one lane movement per year for tenured teacher (2.4) new language proposal.

  • Licensed teaching experience outside HSD may be recognized on a one-year basis up to a maximum of 6 years of experience. HEA: Have you run the one-year lane movement proposal by legal counsel? We have understood that another AA district who tried this was sued and lost the lawsuit. Asked for clarification using specific scenarios. HPS: This is not our first choice, but we have to slow down pay. We are willing to work with HEA for a different solution.

HEA: When we negotiated movement to a new salary matrix, we anticipated this growth would eventually slow down. That was predicted to happen after 4 years, and we are only 2 years in the transition. What do other districts do to slow growth? HPS: Salary pacing slide

  • create a new lane 6.5.

  • Average lane 6 and 7 and name it 6.5

  • rename lane 7 as a PHD lane only.

HEA: Does this HPS position place value on education in PHD being the highest earning lane? HPS: It is to slow down the highest pay. HPS: Other changes slide

  • Teacher salary frozen if board certification is not kept current.

  • Montessori stipend adjustment: newly certified Montessori teacher not eligible to receive stipend.

  • Montessori certified teachers currently teaching Montessori will continue to receive stipend

  • Montessori certified teachers not currently teaching Montessori will not be eligible for stipend.

HPS: Contract Language Proposed changes slide:

  • Suspend Article 11.1 non-instructional duties.

  • Change Article 1.3, prep time K-5

  • Article 4.4 Suspend tuition and fee reimbursement, suspend sabbatical, retain new professionalism at the amount $70,000.

HPS: Financial Compensation Offer slide:

  • 0% 23-24 and 1% 24-25 only if levies pass.

  • Keep the hourly compensation rate at $30.56.

  • Financial package is contingent on acceptance of accompanying language proposal.

HPS: We committed to work collaboratively in effort to create school structural flexibility and have cost neutral effect to overall salary.

HEA: Is HPS including coverage for the health insurance package?

HPS: We are not. We are waiting for the Board of Trustees to decide health benefits plan coverage in June.

HEA: You are asking us to give concessions to language changes with 0% proposed salary increase and 1% if levies pass—essential asking for concessions without any salary increase.

HPS: We know this is not ideal, but this is our proposal. We do value teachers and want to work collaboratively to find solutions.

HEA: This process does not feel collaborative.

HPS: The last bullet answers this question—how can we create school structural flexibility and have a cost neutral effect to overall salary?

HEA: What about the increase that has been awarded by the state and the income earned by the latest bond passing?

HPS: The money is allocated on our increased costs in the district and to supplement what we have to take from our inter-local to balance the budget.

HPS: We have already added these sources of income to the projected budget. We have operational costs next year that we have to absorb, and we are draining our savings, the interlocal. We are facing a deficit. It is upon us—it is not projected, it is here. We do not like this reality, but we are out of money.

HPS: Regardless of what we do in this room we are facing 3.2 million in cuts. Next year those cuts will be even deeper and will impact programming.

HEA: We understand the deficit, but the proposal for significant language changes that impact teachers and not offering any pay increase is a doubly negative offer. We cannot comprehend how HPS cannot do what similar AA schools are doing; for example, Missoula’s top earning is $85, 579 (without NBC stipend) and with only a MA+30 in 18 steps. This is incomprehensible.

HEA: What is the district doing to make other cuts that are not related to teacher salary? Shared the table showing staff audit. There is not another district that has given 0% in the last 5 years, accept HPS. Why is this?

HPS: Helena Public Schools has too many elementary schools. We have more elementary schools than any other AA district. This is expensive.

HEA: We would welcome that conversation, but we have not been given that information. If we had reliable information that told this story, it would be an important consideration to bring to our members when explaining 0% increase.

HPS: Administration has to consider either cutting staff or cutting programs, especially special programs. How does that conversation go for you with membership?

HEA: When we have this conversation, we do address the support in the classroom by state standards and do not relate teacher pay increase to cuts in staff. If we are relating staff cuts to salary increase, we need to know that.

HEA: Teachers taking a 0% increase does not guarantee that we will not have staffing cuts.

HPS: How can we come together with some options and make good use of our time? Does it help us to compare with other districts?

HEA: Is HPS prepared to bargain if we come back with another offer? Are you in a position to bargain?

HPS: If you are able to come back with an offer including language change proposals, we will be at the table to have the conversation.

HEA: Called caucus

11:00 HEA returned from caucus. Offered counterproposal------------------------------------------------------------


Salary Pacing Proposal:

  • HEA does not agree with no lane advancement for non-tenured teachers because it is bad for teachers and bad for students by not encouraging growth.

  • We will concede to only allowing one lane movement per year, except in lane movement from earning MA and BC. So, in lanes 1-4 only, lanes 5-7 can move more than one lane per year if earned through MA and/or BC.

  • HEA: we do not agree with adding may in recognizing year of experience. We have already reduced from a maximum of 10 years to 6 years. Which is the lowest in the AAs. We also do not believe that the word “may” is contractual language that offers clear and consistent practice.

Salary Pacing

  • We are not in agreement with the proposal to rename lane 7 as 6.5 and renaming lane 7 as PHD only. We already changed the matrix for members and cannot do that again after only 2 years.

  • We are in agreement to freeze teacher salary if board certification is not maintained.

  • We are in agreement with Montessori stipend

Contract Language

  • Not in agreement with suspending Article 11.1 because we feel that it unfairly burdens Elementary teachers

  • Not in agreement with changing language in 1.3 because it unfairly burdens elementary teachers. We believe that this proposed change is to encourage cutting PE and Music at the EL level. We also do not want the term “flexibility” in contract language.

  • Agree with the suspension of 4.3- and 4.4 for the next two years.

Financial Compensation Offer

  • Agree to hourly compensation rate $30.56, but want to note that if a teacher is docked for not completing PIR hours, pay is docked at the teacher’s hourly rate.

  • We ask for 2.7% 23-24 and 3.0% 24-25 Both not contingent on levies.

  • We would like the district to maintain covering Health Benefits and Life Insurance at the single premium rate.

HPS: Are there any questions for the HEA team? 11:40-1:00 HPS Caucus and Lunch 1:00: HPS response to HEA Counterproposal------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HPS:

  • We would like to keep the offers that HEA has agreed with.

  • We would like to keep only one lane movement per year, regardless of MA/BC success.

  • Amend 11.1 and 1.3 at the K-12 level for the ability to assign a maximum of 4-20 minute sessions of supervision duty (80 minutes a week) At the high school level this would in exchange of the 6th assignment so it could be possible to teach another class; similar at middle school for supervision, specifically, for before and after school time. K-5 is for recess time.

  • Compensation .5% (23-24) and .5% (24-25) or 1% (24-25) if levies pass

  • Employees pay the increased insurance costs

HEA: How would we arrange for staff meetings and IEP meetings? HPS would still need to have two hours for prep time in the morning and afternoon for the elementary teachers. For specialists and SPED, this is going to incumber prep times at the Elementary level.

HEA: At the elementary level, is this planning for the elimination of music and PE?

HPS: No, your response to our proposal was that you thought was an unfair burden that impacted elementary, and we are attempting to balance. At the elementary level it will help us reduce positions/duties for paras and maximize programming.

HEA: To us what you are saying is that you are asking to eliminate 11.1 altogether.

HPS: No, just amend to include exception for 4 recesses a week

HEA: With this proposal you are asking teachers to supervise 48 hours a year for an additional $300 which equates to $6.25 an hour (average based on a $60,000 salary).

HPS: There is a fixed amount of money that is available and shifting this time allows us to reduce positions.

HEA: Read the contract language of 11.1 from current CBA

HPS: Clarified the history of prep time/schedule at the middle school

HEA: How is this a cost savings for the district at the high school level and middle school level? What is the savings for the HPS at these levels? Will you lose a general ed para position at the elementary level?

HPS: Yes, it will result in loss of para-positions.

HEA: Is supervision only recess? We have asked repeatedly if this is in preparation for the loss of PE and Music?

HPS: It will look different at each building. This is proposed as supervision time. Teachers would still get 4.5 hours of prep time. Reducing staffing will be based on the Budget Consensus Committee

HEA: With this proposal, where is the prep time coming from if not from specialists?

HPS: From the beginning and end of the day.

HEA: At the high school level will this result in teaching as a 6th assignment?

HPS: That will be a consideration for the Budget Consensus Committee. We are just looking ahead.

HEA: How many FTEs will this save HPS?

HPS: This could reduce teaching staff but has to be looked at in each building.

HEA: This is a huge ask without any real compensation offered. We can take this to membership and there is not a way to sell this give.

HEA: Again, how do we ask membership to take a net-loss when the other AA districts are doing this successfully and giving pay increases? *Reference to other AA districts facing budget deficit

HPS: We will be more efficient, serving the same number of students with fewer employees. That will increase our efficiency, resulting in cost saving. It is not as easy to run more efficiently by just making our elementary schools run more like Missoula. We just cannot have big elementary schools like Missoula in our community.

HEA: How can we buy in to this process without seeing comparable student to staff ratios at all school levels that are comparable to other AA schools?

HEA: How we are viewing this is HPS is gaining efficiency by adding more workload to teachers and not increasing pay. More with less in both compensation and staffing. It feels as though you are nickel and dimming teachers and calling it efficiency.

HPS: We can look at slide 4 of the HPS presentation that shows teachers have made salary increases of $6,000 (9.8%) over the last 2 years.

HEA: Refuted the 9.8% as demonstrated in the average daily rate shared during the last bargaining meeting.

HPS: We need to verify the average daily rate

HPS: We are losing some staff but by increasing efficiency we are still able to offer programming. This line is difficult to maintain.

HEA: It feels as though we are not meeting halfway, and all the deficits are a burden only teachers must bear. What else is happening to share this burden?

HPS: The Budget Consensus Committee will be looking at many scenarios. But this is not easy to maximize at the elementary level.

2:00 HEA Caucus-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2:30 HEA Response to HPS Counterproposal

  • Summarized HPS proposal: no lane movement; amending 11.1 and 1.3 and adding 4-20 minute supervisory responsibilities per week; .5% and .5% increase over 2 years; no money added to health benefits

HEA: We are not in agreement with the HPS counter and offer a counter.

  • 2.5 % (23-24) and 3.0% (24-25)

  • Increased cost for health benefits

  • No to the lane movement and changes in 11.1 and 1.3

HEA: We want to know what other concessions are available for HPS? We are asking our teachers to take on more work and less money. Reviewed Notes-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Planning for Next Meeting------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HEA: Can we move the next meeting to after school?

HPS: Yes, we want to be accommodating to teachers on this team.

Next Meeting: Tuesday, May 30 from 4:00-6:00, MTSBA Building, Great Northern Town Center

Tuesday, June 6 from 4:00-6:00, MTSBA Building, Great Northern Town Center


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