DeLand, FL – The fate of just how much teachers get paid for this year could be in the hands of the school board sometime soon.
After Tuesday’s (October 9th) 16 hour negotiation session, VCS and VUE came to an impasse.
The contract will now go before the school board for a final decision that will be made during a meeting later this year. The date, for now, is undetermined.
However, a report from VCS claims that the teacher’s union rejected another proposal from the school board’s negotiating team, claiming that it “became clear that contract talks would not result in a settlement.”
“We desperately tried to compromise and settle contract talks and do what is right for our student’s and teachers,” said negotiating team member and high school principal Matt Krajewski. “I am stunned and disappointed by the union’s decision.”
But, according to the union, that’s not the case.
WNDB reached out to VUE’s president, Andrew Spar, who commented on the news release from the school board.
“First of all, we didn’t reject it,” said Spar. “They stopped negotiations because they wanted to pull back on something we already agreed on.”
Spar says that both sides actually agreed to everything that was put on the table during the negotiations process, and when the district wanted to pull back one of the issues, the union disagreed. In Spar’s words, “when we said no to that, the district said ‘then I guess we’re done here.'”
However, the district argues that no deal was taken off the table.
“We did not formally take a deal off the table,” said Rachel Hazel, the district K-12 Curriculum Director. “There was no backing out, he did not accept it and he said he would only accept it if we gave a bigger raise.”
Hazel went on to say that there was a point in the meeting where Spar stated he was frustrated and that he didn’t trust the district, saying that he was ready to walk out of the negotiation.
They said that even after 16-hours of “friendly and amicable” negotiations, Spar still tweeted against the district, saying that they did not want to make a deal.
No Deal! The district wanted to pull back on the contingency for the pay connected with adding 30 mins at the end. They basically want one more thing to agree with everything they already agreed with. They just did not want to close the deal. Very sad!
— Andrew Spar (@VUEPresident) October 10, 2018
Hazel said the claim that the district was not wanting to make a deal was untrue, urging everyone to watch the video of the last meeting.
In their release sent out early today, the district said that the “teachers’ union president did not commit to continuing negotiations on a day (this week) or next week.”
Spar, who is out of town for a state union conference, said that the district was made fully aware of his availability. He said he had already told the district he would reach out next Monday (October 15th) to set a new date.
“I think that’s a misleading statement from the district and it’s quite disappointing when we’re trying to build trust and settle a contract,” Spar noted.
Mike Dyer, the general counsel for the district, said that they tried to settle a new date with Spar after he said he would be unavailable for the rest of this week and next week.
“Certainly, the negotiations could continue if someone is not available but they chose not to continue,” Dyer added.
So far, no possible dates have been released regarding an impasse hearing. Dyer said that it’s quite possible a date could come sometime in the next couple of months before the year is over.
The district released some of the proposals that came after Tuesday’s negotiation session
- Proposal for a 2.5% raise for this school year plus an additional 2.5% for each of the next two school years for a total of a 7.5% over three years (subject to state funding).
- Proposal for a longevity bonus for teachers with at least 15 years of VCS experience as part of the 2.5% raise.
- Proposal for a new bonus of up to $4,000 for teachers at “DD” through “F” schools.
- Proposal for a 6% increase to supplements and stipends (2% each year over the next three years).
- Proposal to restore the board’s dental insurance contribution through 2020-2021, which expired June 30th, 2018.
- Proposal to increase the board’s health insurance contribution by an additional $20 per month by 2020-2021
- Proposal to reduce the number of potential meetings by up to 25%.
- Proposal to change the elementary school work day by 30 minutes over two years to match the secondary school work day. (This would make the elementary day equal with other districts and would restore instructional time that was lost to recess and planning time.)
In related news, VCS reached a contract settlement earlier this week with the union which represents many of its support personnel, including bus drivers, janitors and cafeteria workers.
The local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees agreed to an average raise of 3% for this school year with a $350 bonus, with a higher percentage going to trades staff because of their lower pay.
That agreement needs to be ratified by the School Board and union members before taking effect.