Contract details released as new deal is signed

Three-year deal includes soft freeze, hard freeze, then raises tied to CPI

Rebecca Rusiecki

Lauren Grimaldi, News Editor

After months of negotiations, the RBEA and the school board signed a contract into place at a special December 18 board meeting.  This guarantees that there will be no strike and no need for new negotiations until at least the year 2016, per the three-year collective bargaining agreement.

In an e-mail, RBEA President Wendy Cassens noted that the vote was unanimous (7-0) among board members and that 85% of the RBEA membership voted to ratify the contract.

Wednesday night, in a press release, more specific details were given about what exactly this contract includes.  Highlights include the fact that the board will be able to keep building up the school’s educational fund balance and that employees will now contribute fixed percentages of their health insurance premiums without increasing their own health care cost.

The release also indicated that the new contract offers restructured retirement incentives for teachers and eliminates early retirement penalties for the district.

In past years, RB has had to cut many stipend positions for extracurricular activities.  According to the press release, several of these cut positions will be reinstated.

Some of the parts of the contract will even start this current school year.

This year, teachers will be able to advance a step on last year’s (2012-2013) salary schedule. This, however, is the only increase in teacher’s pay. There will also not be an increase in compensation for teacher’s in the 2014-2015 school year.  

The 2013-2014 school year will also see to it that educational support personnel employees receive a 3.5% increase in their wages.

However, not all of the new agreements in the contract will take place this exact school year. Over the next three years, there will be many new rules put into place.

In 2014-2015, Consumer Price Index (CPI) will be tied to whether or not there will be an increase for educational support personal employees.

And the last year of the new agreement will see some changes as well.

In 2015-2016, teacher compensation (in addition to the salary of the aforementioned educational support personal employees) will be tied to CPI.

There are some other big chances coming that were not included in the press release.

One of the key new details eliminates the position for department chairs and creates the new title of instructional coach. It should be noted that this position will offer less money and less release time than the department chair.  Several positions will be combined.  Wellness and World Language will be headed by the same coach, unlike past years where those departments yielded two separate department chairs.  The English and Library departments will also share a coach.

Any staff member is encouraged to apply for these new positions as having a Type 75 administrative teaching certificate is no longer necessary. This also means that the current department chairs will lose their titles. However, they are able to reapply for basically the same position though it will now offer less money and less release time.

Another change is that teachers will be mandated to update the grading system, Skyward, every 15 days. This is new and was not mentioned in the previous contracts. Now it should be mentioned that Chromebooks will be coming to RB in 2015-2016 making this an even more significant part of the contract.

Amidst all of the details, the board and RBEA made sure to express their general happiness over this new deal. “The Board and the Association commend all of the participants in the negotiations process for their dedication and collaborative efforts in finalizing this Agreement. The Agreement maintains the stature of our highly accomplished and respected teaching staff and employees, and sustains the Board’s budget and long-range financial goals,” they said in a joint statement.

View the new contract here:

RBHS/RBEA Collective Bargaining Agreement 2013-2016