Initial contract proposals differed during the first bargaining session between the Clinton Education Association and the Clinton Community School District.
The CEA’s proposal focused on teacher planning time and salaries. The proposal asked for a 4 percent increase total package settlement, including salary and insurance benefits. Julie Wolbers from the CEA pointed out they have been responsive to the financial needs of the district and have used insurance benefits prudently. The CEA also asked that employees finishing their 20th year and beginning their 21st year receive a $500 stipend. Wolbers said they felt these individuals should be rewarded for their loyalty.
The CEA also requested that preparation time for elementary school teachers be changed from 25 minutes per day to 30 minutes per day. The idea from the CEA was that teachers have many responsibilities and need more time to plan. The association also wished to change the deadline for teachers to give a professional portfolio to an evaluator from March 15 to March 31.
Human Resource Director Jess Terrell thanked the CEA representatives for an reasonable proposal, but said unfortunately, the district could not meet the request. He did feel it was a good start for negotiation.
The district’s proposal included a 2 percent total package increase. It also changed the amount of the family insurance plan costs that the employee would have to pay and the district would not pay from $75 to $100.
After the initial proposal was read, Chief Financial Officer Jan Culbertson explained the state of the district and what financial challenges it faces. One of the main challenges is the approximately $260,000 the district has not yet received from the Department of Justice from the embezzlement issue two years ago. The district also has lost money from declining enrollment and open enrollment out of the district.
Culbertson said ADM’s current dispute over its assessed valuation has also cost the district money.
The other main area in which the district’s proposal differed from the CEA’s proposal was in employee hours and preparation time. The length of elementary and middle school teachers’ workdays would be increased to eight hours. With this proposed contract, elementary school teachers who teach at multiple grade levels would have 25 minutes a day instead of 30. Middle school and high school teachers’ preparation time would be reduced to 45 minutes a day.
After each side shared their proposals, they went into closed session for further discussion. Negotiations will continue.