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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Clay Com. Schools, Teachers explain barriers to contract

Thursday, December 9, 2004

With both sides trying to explain their case, the Fact Finding Session at the Forest Park Elementary School Gymnasium Wed-nesday evening had some heated moments.

Since July 31, 2003, the Clay Community School Corp. Board of School Trustees and the Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association have been unable to reach a contract agreement.

"Bringing about change is sometimes a messy thing," said Supt. Bill Schad, starting the session with the corporation's side of the disagreement.

Kathy Knust, Curriculum Coordinator, and Randy Burns, Clay Community Schools Business Manager, explained the position that the corporation now finds itself. Unforeseen state cuts in educational funding, past board decisions about staff increases, high utility costs and skyrocketing insurance premiums have caused a downward spiral in the budget that has to be addressed.

"It would be nice to pretend that everything will be financially fine," said Burns towards the end of the corporation's presentation. "But the future is uncertain at best."

After a brief break, the CCTA took the floor with a stern-worded presentation.

"On the fifth page of the CCTA proposal during the second meeting the board called an impasse," said True as he began the presentation. "The fifth page!"

The power point presentation of the CCTA took on a "we said, they said" approach as the issues, and battle lines, were drawn in the sand with the use of a projector. Pointing out each issue that the CCTA tried to settle during previous negotiations, and the board's response, the apparent frustration of the teachers was apparent.

"The frustration comes from the lack of bargaining by the board," said Judie Edwards, UniServ Director of the Indiana State Teachers Association. She helped Russ True present the CCTA case in the public forum. "Their 'take-it or leave-it' attitude hasn't been productive."

While the three main issues have kept them from a resolution, there is a concerted willingness to continue the process as both groups agreed to continue the exchange information after the session.

The information gathered during the session will be consolidated into a report that will take approximately four weeks to prepare. The report will be released to both groups after the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board has a chance to review it. If after ten days no settlement is reached after the report is presented to the CCSC and the CCTA it will be released to the public.

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The issues:

Issue #1 Insurance coverage

- Teachers pay 10 percent of the premium for a single policy, 40 percent for a family plan. The corporation wants to cap the premiums with a set dollar amount per policy, deferring the rest of the cost to teachers.

"We have to get control of these costs. The increasing premiums are beginning to out distance the new funds the corporation is receiving. This situation has been happening the last three years and it looks like it is a trend that will only continue."

William Schad, Superintendent of Clay Community Schools Corp.

"We've found another company capable of providing the same coverage. But it sticks in our collective crawl that the last time we took a rollback, we saw other employees receive better coverage."

Russ True, President

Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association

Issue #2 Creating a new seven-period day

- Reformatting the current high school six-period school day into a seven-period day allowing for new CORE 40 graduation requirements to be implemented in the upcoming 2005/06 school year.

"It is our sincere belief that a seven-period day is the least disruptive for staff and students, and is the quickest and best solution in light of the new graduation requirements of CORE 40."

William Schad, Superintendent of Clay Community Schools Corp.

"We know there are problems with the six-period day as it is-I don't think it's as bad as the board thinks it is-but we are willing to continue discussion about creative alternatives to find a solution."

Russ True, President

Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association

Issue #3 Salary Increase

The teachers association requested a half of a percent raise, after an initial 2.18 percent proposal was rejected by the corporation.

The teachers have asked for a half of a percent raise, but in terms of the corporation's financial situation at this time, the issue is a difficult one, but I believe the board will consider it.

William Schad, Superintendent of Clay Community Schools Corp.

"It's an extremely minimal amount, and at various times we have been willing to accept it just to build momentum in the bargaining process. We showed our willingness to settle by proposing this first."

Russ True, President

Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association



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