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Education Mediator releases recommendations to Clay School Corp.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Since July 31, 2003, the Clay Community School Corp. Board of School Trustees (CCSC) and the Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association (CCCTA) have been unable to reach agreement on several issues regarding contract renewal.

Dave Findley, the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board Fact Finder/Mediator brought in to review information regarding the impasse, has released his recommendations on three key issues for settling their disagreement.

Issue No. 1 Salary Increase

During contract negotiations the CCCTA requested a one-half percent salary increase after an initial 2.18 percent proposal was rejected by the CCSC on the grounds that the financial situation of the budget did not warrant added expenditures.

After reviewing the information, Findley recommended that a half of a percent salary increase in the extra-curricular activities (ECAs) scheduled salaries for the 2003-04 school year should be approved.

Findley has also recommended a one percent increase in salaries for teachers be approved for the 2004-05 school year. The ECA salary schedule will remain the same as the revised previous year's schedule.

Findley's recommendations for the upcoming school year of 2005-06 is based upon the CCSC's review and adjustment of its financial status of the general fund. Once the necessary adjustments have been made it should allow for further discussion of salary increases in the ECA salary schedule.

Issue No. 2 Health Insurance Coverage

Current contract stipulations for teachers' insurance benefits have them paying 10 percent of the premium for a single insurance policy, and 40 percent for a family insurance plan. With policy premiums beginning to outdistance new funding, the corporation wants to cap these policies with a set dollar amount and defer the rest of the cost to teachers in an effort to take control of the budget.

Efforts by both parties to find another insurance company capable of providing the same coverage at a lower cost have been unable to be agreed upon.

Findley has determined that current contract language regarding health insurance plans be maintained for the 2003-04 school year. The 2004-05 school year will also use the same contractual agreement with the understanding that meetings continue in the effort to develop a health insurance plan that would lower costs to the budget.

Issue No. 3 Seven Period Day

The school corporation has been steadfast in its desire to reformat 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.

The CCCTA has understood the reasoning behind reformatting the amount of classes available during a day, but differed upon the execution of a teacher's instructional time during that schedule.

Findley has determined that the proposed language by the corporation and the school board regarding a seven-period day be adopted for Northview and Clay City Jr/Sr High School. He also determined that discussions about reformatting North Clay Middle School's schedule to a seven-period day continue until a resolution can be agreed upon by both parties.

Other Recommendations For Outstanding Issues

The CCSC and the CCCTA have reached agreement on a number of issues that are of no cost to either party but have yet to be ratified through contract negotiations.

Clarification of language intent regarding payroll deductions of teachers' association dues, notification of leave of absences, establishing grade levels and policies of recording such grades, issues regarding traveling teachers compensation, fringe benefits and the establishment of a seniority list for all personnel are among the many items verbally settled by both parties that need to be included in the contract.

Findley encouraged both the CCSC and the CCCTA to accept all of the tentative agreements from earlier meetings in effort to conclude contract negotiations.

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