Talking points on MOU
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Information on NCEA contract amendment On Wednesday, September 2, NCEA members will vote on a proposed contract amendment. If approved, the North Clackamas School Board will vote on the proposal on Thursday, September 3. This proposal would: • restore 43 teaching positions laid off on August 21 • maintain the current number of student instruction days • not increase the district’s budget. The proposal includes: Salary: Teachers would receive a 1% cost of living increase, instead of the contracted 3%. All teachers would also receive their experience step increase, with an added 2 percent increase for those at the top of the pay scale. Reduction in days: Teacher contracts will be reduced by four days. This will not impact student instruction days. If funding improves, two of the days will be reinstated as paid workdays. Early retirement: The stipend for teachers choosing early retirement by December 31 will increase by $8,000. Staffing reductions: In addition to the 60 teaching positions eliminated in June, 17 additional positions will be eliminated. At this point, 16 of the 17 teachers facing layoff in August have returned to classrooms full time or part time, filling vacancies due to attrition and employee leaves. A number of secondary teachers took reduced teaching assignments, some voluntary and some involuntary. …………………………………………………………………… Questions from Parents: What does this mean for students? With 60 teaching positions eliminated in June, and 17 more positions eliminated in August, we expect that class sizes will increase at all grade levels this fall. We won’t have exact class size numbers until enrollment numbers stabilize on October 1. We have been able to retain support services such as counseling, education assistants, and specialists to support English learners and special education students. Have any academic programs been eliminated due to staff cuts? North Clackamas Schools has made every effort to maintain a full range of courses and programs for students, including elementary music, P.E., and counseling, plus high school elective courses. A few secondary courses with low enrollment have been eliminated and a few have been consolidated, with some reductions in the number of sections offered. When will classroom assignments and school schedules be available? Most elementary schools should be able to provide teacher assignments by Thursday, September 3. Middle and high school students will be provided with their schedule at the start of school. Why were these changes made so close to the start of the school year? Since January, the district has been working to resolve this matter. We are hopeful that by Thursday night, both NCEA members and the School Board will have approved the proposed amendment to the teachers’ contract, balancing the district budget in time for the start of the school year. How did we get to this point? The funding gap was caused by declines in state revenue as a result of record unemployment. Two- thirds of school funding comes from income taxes. Other declines have occurred in Oregon’s Common School Fund and School Improvement Funding. Last year North Clackamas Schools created the district budget based on $6,330 per student from the state. This year the district based its budget on funding of $6,179 per student. In addition to lost revenue, the school district also faces increases in fixed operational costs, such as utilities, fuel, and employee health insurance. In 2009-10, the district will spend approximately $1.8 million more for employee health insurance due to premium increases. Why is the district laying off teachers when it can still afford to build new schools? By law, the bond funds approved by voters in November 2006 can only be spent for the capital improvements specified on the ballot measure: new construction and building renovations. About 83 percent of operating funds are spent on employee salaries and benefits. Operating funds are provided by state income taxes (59 percent), county property taxes (29 percent), Oregon lottery funds (5 percent), and other funding sources (7 percent, including Federal funds). In an economic downturn, state income tax revenue declines, so less money is available for schools. Are teachers being asked to take a disproportionate share of the budget cuts? No. The budget was based on the expectation that each employee group would contribute a proportional share equivalent to a salary freeze to help resolve the funding shortfall. Will school start on time? Yes, school will start on time. Grades 1-7 and 9 begin on September 8, and grades 8 and 10-12 begin on September 9. The first day of kindergarten is September 10. Will there be more budget cuts for schools next year? School funding for next year is uncertain. If the revenue measures on the January ballot fail, there could be additional funding cuts for schools in the 2010-11 school year. ………………………………………………………………………………………….. Questions from employees: Can you provide an update on the NCEA negotiations? On August 28th, the District and Teachers reached a tentative agreement to amend their existing contract. The temporary memorandum of understanding (MOU) provided the following: 1. Restored 43 teaching positions 2. Maintained student instructional days 3. Did not increase personnel costs and maintained a balanced budget. NCEA members will vote on the proposal Wednesday, and the School Board will vote on Thursday. The general details of the temporary MOU for 2009-2010 are: 1. Salary schedule will receive a 1% increase (vs. 3% in the existing contract) 2. Qualified teachers advance a step on salary schedule (as per existing contract) 3. Teachers on the final step of each salary column will receive a 2% increase. 4. Work days and salaries will be reduced by 4 workdays (3 inservice and 1 workday) 5. Early retirement incentive will be temporarily increased to $38,000 for 4 months (Aug. through December 2009). 6. If state K-12 funding drops below $5.8 billion for the biennium the District will provide a $20,000 incentive for up to 30 employees to separate from the District. 7. If the taxes are upheld in January 2010, employees will have 2 workdays restored (1 inservice and 1 workday). 8. While 43 positions are being restored as result of this MOU, in order to make this agreement cost neutral and achieve a balanced budget, 17 additional teaching positions will be reduced on top of the 60 positions eliminated in June. Did the school district achieve a balanced budget? Yes. The district was able to balance the budget as planned with the expectation that each employee group would share proportionally in the loss of funding through salary freezes and personnel reductions. Will students lose any school days as a result of lost teacher workdays? No. The district was able to maintain all student instructional days. Three teacher inservice days will be lost, along with one teacher workday. Will classified employees also receive a mid-year adjustment if revenues increase? The district will be working with the classified employee association throughout the year to ensure they are given consideration for a mid-year adjustment (e.g. a restoration of days) if the District receives more revenue than budgeted. The District agreed in writing that the classified employees would not be disproportionately impacted more than other employee groups. Did the superintendent take a pay freeze? Ron Naso's compensation last year and Tim Mills' compensation this year both total approximately the same amount, when you combine compensation and benefits. In effect, Superintendent compensation for our district has remained about the same from last year to this year.