No deal: JEA rejects district’s offer for 10 percent raise over two yearsThe Jamestown Education Association rejected a 10.4 percent increase in base salary from teachers’ current base salary at Tuesday’s negotiations meeting. For the 2010-2011 school year, Jamestown Public Schools’ base salary for teachers was $28,530.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Education Association rejected a 10.4 percent increase in base salary from teachers’ current base salary at Tuesday’s negotiations meeting.
For the 2010-2011 school year, Jamestown Public Schools’ base salary for teachers was $28,530.
On Tuesday the Jamestown Public School Board proposed a base of $30,000, a 4.6 percent increase for 2011-2012, and $31,500 for 2012-2013, which is 10.4 percent more than the current base salary.
JEA wanted a base salary for 2011-2012 of $30,660, which includes $160 for an extra day, and a base of $32,500 for 2012-2013.
Each $100 increase in base salary costs the district $72,000, said School Board member Rosemary McDougall.
McDougall also said that the district will be deficit spending for the 2012-2013 school year.
“We want to keep some of these programs we’ve built up over the years,” she said.
One example she cited was the School Board agreeing to keep the Talented and Gifted Program, and hire a replacement staff member to do so.
McDougall also said the district may face financial challenges if some schools do not meet yearly federal education requirements called Adequate Yearly Progress. If the AYP requirements aren’t met, the district will be required to reallocate funds toward mandated uses.
JEA representatives brought up Teachers Fund For Retirement and the fact that they are required to pay part of their salaries into this fund and other districts have the cost picked up by their school boards.
TFFR is a qualified-defined benefit public pension plan covered under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, according to the North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office. Even though it’s a benefit, teachers are required to pay in a certain percentage each year.
“It might not seem like a benefit to you, but in reality it’s money that goes right into your pockets,” McDougall said, referring to when teachers retire.
The School Board broke down the numbers of new costs to the district already signed off on — since the process started on April 26 — including the $150,000 per each year of the biennium for an increase in health insurance.
JEA said the number was not accurate because health insurance costs for teachers are only two thirds of the $150,000, with the other third coming from different staff like classified staff and administrators.
“The costs should only be for the group it’s for,” said JEA Representative Donette Rasmussen, school counselor at Jamestown Middle School and department chair.
Tanya Ostlie, School Board member, said the total cost of $150,000 was included because it is still new money the board is paying staff, even though it’s not representative of what actually goes to teachers.
Rasmussen said a School Board member brought up at a recent meeting the possibility of transferring reserve money into a building fund. Once money is placed in that fund, it can only be used for buildings and not for salaries or benefits.
“It really can make us feel like building is more important than paying staff more,” she said.
McDougall said building projects were able to be completed in the past two years because of money from the stimulus.
“The consensus of the board — I don’t believe they’re willing to go any higher,” McDougall said.
The next teachers’ negotiation meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in the Thompson Community Room at Jamestown Middle School.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com