No agreement reached yetThe Jamestown Education Association reduced its salary offer at Monday’s teacher contract negotiations meeting but the Jamestown Public School Board stood firm.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Education Association reduced its salary offer at Monday’s teacher contract negotiations meeting but the Jamestown Public School Board stood firm.
The School Board offered a base salary of $30,160 for 2011-2012 and $31,500 for 2012-2013. JEA initially offered $30,660 for the first year and $32,000 for the second year. The current base salary is $28,530.
The board did agree to drop a flex day of professional development, but didn’t put the funds saved toward salaries. Nothing was formally agreed upon about the flex day by the end of the meeting.
The flex day requires teachers to acquire 8 total hours of professional development on their own outside of other designated professional development days.
The move to drop the flex day saves about $97,000 over the two years.
“The biggest reason it was brought up was to find ways to save on that end so it could be put into salary,” said JEA representative Donette Rasmussen, school counselor at Jamestown Middle School and department chair.
School Board member Rosemary McDougall said the board got the perception at the last meeting that the staff currently has too many professional development days.
After an executive session JEA dropped its base salary offer for 2011-2012 to $30,500 and $31,840 for 2012-2013, that is minus the $160 the teachers would earn for the dropped day of professional development.
At this point Rasmussen offered a proposal to close the sessions.
“Our current proposal is that we should meet in the middle,” she said.
JEA would decrease each year’s base salary offer by $170 if the School Board increased its base salary offer by $170. This way both sides could meet in the middle and cover an equal amount of ground.
McDougall said the board won’t move on dollars unless money can be taken from elsewhere and reallocated to salary.
“The bad news is we’re not going to give in tonight, but we’re not making a proposal without talking to the rest of the board,” McDougall said.
At the end of the meeting JEA came down from its Aug. 17 offer by $660. The School Board didn’t make a change to the last offer made at the same Aug. 17 meeting.
A document presented by the School Board earlier in Monday’s meeting showed the estimated budget deficit the district will face in 2012-2013. The projection is based on a 2012-2013 base salary of $31,500, the elimination of reduced federal dollars from the closure of the Even Start program and five teachers retiring and being replaced by teachers at the bottom of the pay index.
For 2011-2012 the district looks to be $637,030 in the black, and the next year is projected to be $953,698 in the red.
Part of the reason for facing the impending deficit is an influx of one-time use state and federal funds which needs to be used for teacher compensation, said Sally Ost, business manager.
Superintendent Bob Toso said another reason is because the state funds are allocated so the majority is to be used in the first year of the biennium with less for the second year.
“As individuals or as an organization, we need to be financially prudent about our spending and we need the interim fund if things arise,” McDougall said.
The district has about $6 million in reserves, but Toso said that could dry up quickly if deficit spending continues beyond 2012-2013 at the rate of more than $900,000 a year.
“Deficits are built in and we all remember where this district was when we were deficit spending every year,” Toso said.
The next meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Thompson Community Room at Jamestown Middle School.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at brodgers @jamestownsun.com