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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Contract issue still hot topic

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

As the debate over the renovation project continues, teacher contract negotiations remain the main focus for the community.

Monday, the corporation placed a paid advertisement in The Brazil Times detailing the latest offer from the corporation to the teachers.

The offer, given Aug. 13, would give teachers a 12.9 percent to 15 percent pay increase from the last contract.

Additionally, the corporation would still pay 90 percent of a single teacher's health insurance premiums, and 60 percent of the family premium.

The offer also says the corporation would give 2 percent of a teacher's salary into a retirement fund beyond the 3 percent already contributed to the Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund.

The teachers association presented a counter proposal, which was deemed too expensive for the district.

The debate is over if the corporation's cash balance can be used to cover salary compensation for the past few years.

The corporation says that most of the balance has already been promised to retired teachers.

This stems from the inability of the corporation to completely buy out retirement bonds a few years ago.

Also, if the corporation used the excess in the cash balance to fund the raises asked for by the teachers association, the balance would be gone after one year.

If there is no money in the cash balance, there is no money for raises in the years after.

The teachers association contends the retirement package for a current teacher is more than made up in the difference between the salary paid to a current teacher and a newly hired teacher.

The teachers are trying to first settle compensation for the school years 2003-04 through 2006-07, and then move on to a future contract.

"Our salary from 2003-04 should not be tied to an insurance rate in 2007-08," teachers association representative Russ True said.

On the other hand, although it is tempting to settle using the cash balance, "I can't give what's not there," said school board president Terry Barr.

Both the school board and the teachers association have said that, at the moment, the proposed trimester scheduling is a non-issue.

Teachers were part of the committee that put together the proposal for trimester scheduling, but nothing has been discussed about language in the contract.

Contract talks have been stalled since the Aug. 13 meeting. No future meetings have been scheduled.

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Dear Melinda,

How can you print that teachers would get such a raise, the raise was only for the teachers with 23 year plus year experience, plus teachers like myself would get no raise or a reduction in salary. That's why CCTA didn't take it the offer, the offer for a raises was only for the experienced teachers. You have really hurt many teachers chance for a raise now with this kind of reporting.

-- Posted by 5longyears on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 6:04 AM

On behalf of the taxpayers of Clay County I'd like to thank the school board for finally printing facts. The proposal listed in the ad on Monday does not look like the "Slap in the Face" to the teachers that the Union Reps have maintained. Considering teachers are the highest paid employees of Clay County, with better insurance benefits than a majority of Hoosiers enjoy (and deserve because you are entrusted with our most precious asset). I support all teachers, but NOT the CCSTA. The protests, marches, leaflets, and childish behavior has long since been a tactic abandoned by other unions over 20 years ago. It especially is a terrible example to our children. Good teachers of Clay County, I urge you to look beyond what your Union reps are telling you and SEEK THE TRUTH of what is going on in negotiations. PLEASE PLEASE Educate yourselves on the facts, not what someone else wants you to believe.

-- Posted by growupnow on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 6:21 AM

This ad was not truthful. It only presents one piece of the puzzle. The 15% raise went only to teachers that were on the top of the pay scale with 20 years of experience. The board wants to cap insurance and cut back retirement benefits. For teachers with less than 18 years of experience, net pay would stay the same or go down. They did not print those facts. In addition, with a cap on insurance, the net pay would be further reduced. The current teacher cost for family insurance is over $650 a month. With a cap on insurance, this figure would go up. Furthermore, the teachers have settled on issues to help the school corporation and save money such as the bidding out of insurance. I also find it cowardly that no one took "credit" for printing this ad. This ad is a true example of political propoganda. It does not present all of the facts.

-- Posted by cubsdog on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 7:47 AM

In response to "growupnow" I have several comments:

1) First off, you do not represent all the taxpayers of Clay Co. In fact, the teachers pay taxes. And, if what you say about them being the highest paid employees of Clay County is true, they pay more taxes than anyone else.

2) The teachers do have a good (not great) health benefit program - WHICH THEY PAY FOR. Yes, the corporation pays for a percentage (see the above article) but teachers are still paying upwards of $7000 per year for coverage and that will only go up with the contract proposed by the board which will cap the corporation's contribution.

3) The reason the teachers have had to resort to protests and leaflets (let's get real, the only "march" they have done was in the K-Day parade) is that the local media (i.e. The Brazil Times) insists on taking the party line and giving the board's side of the issue as if it is fact. Just look again at the above article. Sorry Miss Quasius, I know you are new to Clay County and haven't learned yet that not everything that comes from the board is fact. You might want to spend some time going back and looking at the trail left by this, and previous, boards.

4)Lastly, if it wasn't for the union representation of the CCSTA, this board would have bullied the teachers into a contract that neither benefits them nor the citizens of Clay County.

Thank goodness "growupnow" the teachers have educated themselves of the facts and do not have to believe what you and the media want them to believe.

-- Posted by 4whatsright on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 12:43 PM

Is printing half the truth the same as printing a lie? I am one of the teachers that would have been affected by the raise because I have been with the corporation for a long time. However, there are many more teachers whose pockets I would be robbing if I accepted that raise because to 'pay off' the old folks the corporation was stealing from the newer teachers. Their pay would have decreased drastically. Some professions may take advantage of their colleagues, but ours doesn't.

-- Posted by readytoretire on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 1:56 PM

I am a teacher at Clay Community Schools and the last proposal to me by the board was to take a cut in pay. For some reason the paper did not mention only teachers who have been there 22 years or more would get a raise. I am on my husband's insurance, because I can't afford 650 dollars a month. I am still paying my tuition from college each month plus I have 1100 dollars every five years for continuing ed. and license renewal. I also spend an average of 500 dollars a year on my class celebrating their achievements and getting rewards for good behavior. Please don't call me immature for asking for a raise after 5 long years, which by the way, makes Indiana history.

-- Posted by 5yearstoolong on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 4:07 PM

Sounds like I must have hit a nerve with the CCTA. How can it only be partially true? The chart I saw in the paper looked complete to me as it did with anyone else who looked at it. I however refuse to continue dialogue with irrational childish people. Thank you for your comments, it helps solidify my assumptions on the root cause of this problem.

-- Posted by growupnow on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 4:38 PM

I am interested in viewing the comments from 4whatsright. I don't know why the comments from grow up now weren't deleted. They seemed a little personal and harsh. I was trying to make people realize how dedicated teachers are to students. I never dreamed when becoming a teacher, I would be so belittled for what I do.

-- Posted by 5yearstoolong on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 7:48 PM

Why would a comment be deleted? In response to growup, I think you may want to check the facts. I'm sorry to hear but, from my understanding the ad that used taxpayer dollars from the Clay Comm. School corp. did only present a partial picture of the truth. I'm afraid that some community members are beliving only what others want you to believe. I know a few teachers and they were not offered what was in the Brazil ad. I think if you get the whole story we'll see why we have an unsettled contract! Sounds to me like the teachers would have lost money and benifits if they took the last proposal. I know teachers that bring work home, work weekends, and spend several hundred of dollars a year in the classroom. Let alone professional development. However, when asked why? They have a passion for helping young children. Maybe we could help them and supporting their efforts. GET THE WHOLE TRUTH!

-- Posted by claytaxpayer on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 7:49 PM

I support the corporation as i work for the corporation aswell. The facts are in the paper, how can you say you are not getting a raise when the chart shows that the least amount of a raise is $600. Now not to offend anyone here or anything but you are TEACHERS (can you not read a chart?)or are you just listening to what Russ True is telling you? I dont know what you are complaining about the insurance for, because for a single plan you pay around what $35 every two weeks? For a single plan and not a teacher we pay $65 every two weeks. So how can you complain about your insurance? There are those people out there that work for the corporation that have degrees, and been through years of schooling and trainning also but we dont get anything for it. Myself I have been through over 300 hours of trainning for my job, but I do not see any extra pay for it, and I dont expect to because it is part of my JOB!! I understand teachers have a job that takes alot of effort to put forth. But its not just the teachers that make the corporation, it is everyone. If you dont have the people to do the upkeep on the buildings, the drivers to drive the buses, the mechanics to work on the buses, or the buildings to work out of, you will not have any students or buildings. As I said in my previous post Clay Community is lower on their pay rates then most other corporations by about $6.00 an hour. But everyone else in the corporation still gets up daily and performs their duties for the school and we do not make a big deal out of it and drag the entire county into it. You know it is childish and selfish when the teachers on the top end of the proposed contract are making equal if not more then the elementary school PRINCIPALS!

-- Posted by supporter on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 8:04 PM

Bottom line facts:

1. Teachers have been without a new contract for 5 years (longest in the state).

2. The ad in the paper only gave part of the package the school board was proposing. It was propoganda.

3. The net paycheck for teachers have been going down for the past 3 years because of increases in insurance. A family plan is over $650 dollars a month. That comes to over $180 a week "supporter."

4. The school board has 4.2 million dollars in the general fund--the 32nd largest in the state.

5. Why would the teachers association turn down the proposal of the CCS? It's simple, behind the "15% raise" were cuts in retirement and a cap on insurance. With that in mind, potentially, an entire paycheck of a teacher with a family could go solely toward insurance in a few years. Once these benefits are taken away, there is no way to get them back. The teachers will never settle on a contract that takes away something that's already in place.

-- Posted by cubsdog on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 11:36 PM

My husband and I have lived in Clay County for over 50 years and have supported the Brazil Times through our subscriptions to the paper. I write to inform you that our support has come into question recently due to the obvious bias against the Clay County Teachers Association. We have always come to expect that the media is to be "fair and balanced" when reporting and that personal views will never interfere with the facts. However, it is obvious and unfortunate that you have aligned "our local paper" with the school administration and school board in this contract dispute. We have been patient over the years with the errors, misreporting, and lack of professional journalism that we are aware accompanies many small town newspapers. However, our patience and understanding came to a halt after we read the article written by Melinda Quasius in the September 25th newspaper entitled "Contract Issue Still Hot Topic". The article was biased in favor of the administration and the School Board of Clay Community Schools. There were many "half-truths" and misleading information in the article. The Clay County Teachers' information on the topic was not discussed, and the article led the public to believe that teachers are nothing but selfish and money hungry. Let me assure you if selfishness and desire for money was our goal in life, this would not have been our career of choice. Your journalists need to report the facts from both sides of the issue for "our local paper". I hope you publish another article (also front page) with facts from the Clay Community Teachers Association.

-- Posted by enoughisenough on Wed, Sep 26, 2007, at 9:13 PM

We voted for the school board. In return, we hope that the school board reflects our best interests. It does. If we wanted to give the teachers a raise instead of fixing our schools, then our votes would hopefully reflect that. The issue has to do with who we have voted for. We need to think about how well they properly represent their population. If people want to cry and moan, maybe they should vote for who they want to best represent them. Or better yet, run for the office themselves and take on the task. With the voting rate of Clay County, it can be proven, with statical empirical evidence, that not everyone voted. How can this democracy work without the population speaking? Maybe it is? Vote... That is the answer to the problem.

-- Posted by Criminology08 on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 11:07 PM

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