Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, Feb. 4 @ 2 p.m. / Education
Teachers Union Rejects DNUSD's First Offer Since October; Proposal Mirrors Fact Finder's Recommendation
The union representing local teachers rejected a new offer from Del Norte Unified School District, saying the proposal would mean a financial hit for many of its members.
The Del Norte Teachers Association’s bargaining team plans to issue a counter proposal, though a date for that hasn’t been decided on, DNTA lead negotiator Paige Thompson told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Monday.
The district’s offer, issued Jan. 29, is its first since October, Thompson said. It mirrors a recommendation from Renée Mayne, a mediator with the California Public Employment Relations Board. After meeting with both parties at a Dec. 5 hearing, Mayne offered her recommendations in a report that was made public on Jan. 14.
In a Jan. 29 email to DNTA members, Thompson said the bargaining team is holding strong to make sure members don’t take a financial hit due to the increase in health and welfare costs.
“The district’s proposal from today does not honor the hard work we are doing,” Thompson said, “and it does not help attract and retain the quality educators our students need and deserve.”
In a joint communique to all certificated staff, DNUSD’s human resources director, Coleen Parker, states no tentative agreement was reached with the union. Negotiators on both sides will begin meeting next month to discuss certificated staff’s 2020-21 contract, according to Parker.
DNUSD’s latest proposal covers fiscal years 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
For the 2019-2020 year, DNUSD is proposing a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2019. Flat-dollar stipends would also see a 2 percent increase effective July 1, 2019 and health insurance premium costs would remain status quo, according to the proposal.
The district is proposing another 2 percent salary increase for 2020-21 effective July 1, 2020. If DNUSD received additional funding through the Local Control Funding formula, salaries would rise a further 0.5 percent to 1 percent.
Flat-dollar stipends would increase by another 2 percent and the district would contribute an additional $500 to its health and welfare contribution per employee, both effective July 1, 2020.
Salaries would increase by another 2 percent for fiscal years 2021-2022 effective July 1, 2021. If the local control funding formula year-over-year increased, certificated staff salaries would increase by a further 0.5 percent to 1 percent, according to the district’s proposal.
Flat-dollar stipends would increase by another 2 percent and the district health and welfare contribution would raise by $500 per employee, both effective July 1, 2021.
In its proposal, the district argues that any change in hourly pay for DNTA members will take effect on the first of the month after a tentative agreement is approved by the DNUSD Board of Trustees.
The district also argues that because the bargaining process has lasted nearly a year, the current contract will become the successor contract from 2019-2022.
“…the District believes it is important to provide employees with the stability of ongoing pay and health and welfare increases, to allow staff to maintain their highest focus on students and reduce the external pressure that negotiations can create,” DNUSD stated in its proposal.
Under the district’s proposed offer, however, a first-year teacher at the bottom of the salary schedule using the district’s Pine/Spruce Health Care plan would lose $14.52 each month before taxes, according to Thompson. She notes that teachers are only paid for 10 months of work.
Further along the certificated staff’s salary schedule, a teacher with a credential and Bachelor’s degree plus 60 units of extra training or a master’s degree and 15 additional units who worked in the district for 10 years would see a salary increase of $34.13 before taxes if they have DNUSD’s Pine/Spruce Health Care plan.
“If you have the Redwood Medical Plan, the MOST you could possibly see with a 2 percent raise is $51.42 each month (10 months) before taxes,” Thompson said. “This number is if you are on cell F30 — any other cell would receive less than this each month.”
According to Mayne’s fact finding report, her recommendation was based on the district’s initial offer last spring to increase certificated salaries by 1 percent. It did not take into consideration the district’s October offer of an additional 1 percent raise contingent upon enrollment, making DNUSD’s total proposal 2 percent.
DNTA, meanwhile, started contract negotiations with the district more than 330 days ago by asking for a 6 percent salary raise. Since then, the union has been pressing DNUSD for a 3.54 percent increase in the salary schedule and a 3.54 percent increase in flat-dollar salaries, according to Mayne's report.