A-W proposes salary ‘hard freeze’

Posted February 21, 2019 at 6:00 am

By Julie Ann Madden

On Jan. 12, Akron-Westfield Shared Superintendent Randy Collins presented the school board’s bargaining response to the Akron-Westfield Education Association’s proposal.

Salary Package

The Board proposed a pay freeze — 0 percent increase — for licensed staff salaries in response to the AWEA’s proposal of a 4.2 percent total salary package increase.

Sick Leave Bank

In addition, the board proposed to delete Article III Section A: Sick Leave Bank in response to the AWEA’s proposal to increase the personal leave one day — from two days to three days.

The Sick Leave Bank is a “bank” where employees can donate some of their own Sick Leave days instead of losing them when they don’t use them. If an employee uses all of their own Sick Leave days, then they can request up to an additional 20 days from the Sick Leave Bank.

The board’s proposal is to eliminate the Sick Leave Bank.

Teachers’ Hours

• Article VI – Hours: AWEA has proposed increasing in-service hours from one-half day to one full day for teachers to work independently in their own areas and that all days beyond the five scheduled days to be days designated as teacher workdays in their own area.

The board proposed deleting the whole Hours section.

Contract Length

Furthermore, the board proposed just a one-year Master Contract agreement while AWEA had proposed a five-year agreement with parties agreeing to reopen for salary and any other article mutually agreed upon.

Contract Separability

Finally, the AWEA had proposed adding language to the Separability clause, which was not in the current Master Contract; however, the Board does not support doing that.

Board Summation

“It looks like the Legislature is close to settling on a State Supplemental Aid (amount),” said Collins. “They’ve been talking about 2.06 percent which is twice as much as they’ve given the last two years. Last year was 1 percent and the year before was 1.1 percent.”

“It also looks good for Transportation Equity and also Student Equity (funding),” he said, “and also the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) state penny (extension). Things look better this year than they have the last couple years is what I’ll tell you but don’t county your chickens before they hatch.”

“This is a calculated initial proposal,” Collins told the AWEA Negotiating Team. “It deals with bargaining. Is this where it’s going to end up? No. Is your proposal where it’s going to end up? No. That’s what bargaining is all about.”

After the public proposal, Collins told The Akron Hometowner, “It’s amicable between the two groups.”

“We’re following a process,” he said. “Bargaining has its place.”

“It’s supposed to look out for the employees and the district,” said Collins. “We do have a responsibility to be frugal with the taxpayers’ dollars so we’re going to be very thoughtful and intentional during negotiations.”

Next Step

Both the AWEA’s and School Board’s initial proposals are required to be in a public meeting. However, the actual negotiations is done behind closed doors. Once an agreement is reached, the school board will officially approve it at a public board meeting.

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