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Sunday, May 1, 2016

School Board, teachers association to continue contract talks; teachers 'mad'

Monday, January 16, 2006

Harper Studios photo

Members of the Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees include Joe Thomas, Terry Barr, Dottie King, Ted Jackson, Jim Guy, Steve Grigsby and Len Fischer.

School Board President Steve Grigsby told the crowd Thursday night the past two years of contract negotiations with the Clay Community Classroom Teachers' Association was permissible under Indiana law. He said the evening's presentation was not intended to be critical or adversarial.

In addition to information previously presented and reported in The Brazil Times, the following was added:

- An offer by the corporation to cap insurance premiums for teachers' health insurance at $1,000 above the current premium.

It was during the presentation of insurance information that Grigsby asked the crowd to consider their own insurance policies.

"I doubt that many people carry a zero percent deductible on their vehicle, home and health insurance. They can't afford it," he said. "I know I can't."

- Contract language that stated the board would hold to a minimum the future amount of Reduction In Force (RIF) and use attrition as much as possible to reduce teaching staff.

The board stated that they were unaware of any corporation in the state that has language guaranteeing no layoffs written in a contract.

- Clay Community Classroom Teachers average full salary of $46,202 ranks 122 out of the 292 corporations across the state, while non-teaching certified staff listed in the same report has an average salary of $57,366 and ranks 227 in the state.

New teachers in the corporation start out at an average hourly wage of $22.58 while a teacher with a Masters degree plus 30 hours and 21 years experience has an hourly wage of $40.66 based based on a 7-hour, 15-minute contract day.

- The present teachers' contract with a six-period day teaching five periods has teachers spending 4 hours and 50 minutes teaching students at the elementary level, 4 hours and 15 minutes at North Clay Middle School 6th grade, 4 hours and 5 minutes at North Clay Middle School 7th and 8th grade, 4 hours and 35 minutes at Northview and 4 hours and 27 minutes at Clay City Jr./Sr. High School

This information was met with snickers and laughter amoung the teachers present in the audience.

- A retiring teacher with 35 years experience in 2005 would have earned close to $1.1 million in their teaching career.

During board comments, many board members voiced their concern about the issues becoming clouded with anger instead of rational discussion. Board member Len Fischer urged everyone back to the table.

"We've had two public bargaining sessions and this is not the way to bargain. Name calling doesn't solve anything," he said. "We need to get back to the table."

Clay Community Classroom Teachers' Association president Russ True agreed with Fisher.

"I wholeheartedly agree with him. I hope tonight does not make bargaining more difficult, but a lot of people left here mad tonight," he told The Brazil Times after the meeting.

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