Sunday, June 04, 2023

Cd'A School Board approves teacher contracts

Staff Writer | July 12, 2022 1:08 AM

It's a done deal.

The Coeur d'Alene School District and Coeur d'Alene Education Association are in agreement regarding teacher contracts for the 2022-2023 school year.

Board trustees on Monday approved the agreements proposed and settled on by the association and school board teams, which participated in four interest-based bargaining sessions from May through when tentative agreement was reached Wednesday, July 6.

The vote was a unanimous 4-0. Trustee Allie Anderton was absent.

“We’re really appreciative that they respected the process," Coeur d'Alene Education Association President Aaron Hayes said after the board approved the agreements. "The negotiations teams on both sides worked really hard."

The contract will give teachers a 3.25% salary increase, with another 1% increase possible contingent on whether the Aug. 30 school plant facilities levy is approved by voters. The levy will not fund teacher salary increases, but will free up existing deferred maintenance, security and tech funds in the existing budget to pay for salaries.

"That would allow the school district to shift some of the funding that is now coming out of general fund and goes to things like building maintenance and safety upgrades," district spokesman Scott Maben said. "That would free up money in the general fund to pay teachers more."

Hayes said this showed the teachers the district was willing to give as good of projected pay raises as it could afford.

"I think a lot of teachers were happy to see they did that," Hayes said. "That was the potential final thing that brought us to agreement."

The 3.25% raise will accompany an increase in how much teachers receive for master's degrees and career and technical education to $3,000 and $2,500, respectively. Maben explained the state gives the school district $3,000 a year for every teacher who has master's degrees, but many school districts give a portion to those teachers and the rest goes in the general fund. The education association went to bat for those teachers, who will now receive all of that funding.

"We were initially not very happy with the offer of 3.25%," said Hayes, who observes but does not actively participate in the negotiations between the teachers' union and the district teams. "The way the state had increased their funding, we felt they'd be able to do more. What we finally came to agree on is that the other ancillary work environment agreements that we came up with are very good."

Those agreements include:

• Funding for leadership stipends that had been cut by the state during the last legislative session.

• Adding one year to the years of experience recognized by the district upon hiring new experienced certificated employees. It will go from eight to nine.

• A renewal of a one-year memorandum of understanding compensation plan for teachers and modified to include counselors who work outside regular contract time while participating in individualized education programs (IEPs) and 504 meetings for students with disabilities or special needs.

Coeur d'Alene School Board Vice Chair Casey Morrisroe, who has participated in negotiations for seven years, thanked Trustee Lesli Bjerke for participating in her first year.

"I'd like to thank Lesli, who was in there last week when I was out of town and got the deal closed. I told her she volunteered for next year because she closed when I couldn't," Morrisroe said. "Glad we were able to go this route and reach an agreement."

This decision comes about a month after the board voted to give classified employees a 7% pay raise.

“Everyone voiced high interest in trying to better compensate some of our lowest-paid employees,” Maben said. "Those are the positions that have been so hard to fill and keep filled — bus drivers, custodians, office staff, School Plus workers. They’ll get a nice little increase.



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