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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The numbers provided don't add up

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Clay Community Classroom Teacher's Association (CCCTA) provided The Brazil Times Tuesday afternoon with more information regarding the stalled contract negotiations and proposals.

Russ True, the CCCTA representative, brought a copy of the school board's proposal that was distributed to the association.

A copy of the CCCTA comparisons of current salary and total compensation to the proposed salary and compensation was also included.

After a comparison of the numbers on the board's proposal and paid ad in the Monday edition of The Times to the CCCTA spreadsheet, some discrepancies were found.

First, the salary schedule is defined differently by both organizations.

The school corporation lists the schedule by salary and net salary after 3 percent is taken out for the Teachers Retirement Fund (TRF).

The net salary schedule is what is presented in the ad.

On the CCCTA spreadsheet, the net salary appears as "salary only" next to columns of "Total Compensation: Salary + Tax Deferred."

Total compensation refers to the amount of pre-tax money that the corporation contributes to six different retirement funds annually.

Part of the board's proposal is a decrease from 5 percent of salary to 2 percent of salary contributed to the funds.

This is separate from the contribution to the 3 percent contributed to the TRF.

According to the corporation's lawyer, Michelle Cooper of Bose, McKinney, and Evans law firm in Indianapolis, there is no corporation documentation of how much is contributed to the funds by step on the salary schedule.

She said there is no definite amount given because contribution varies on the salary schedule and TRF status.

True responded that this applies only to the state retirement funds, and that Cooper was correct in regards to that fund.

He also said the CCCTA spreadsheet gives amounts for local funds and severance packages.

This is important because the CCCTA shows that, although there is a step-by-step increase in net salary, the decrease in the amount contributed to the retirement funds would mean a decrease in total compensation for each step on the salary schedule under the new proposal.

This is not to say all teachers would receive less compensation from one year to the next.

Some educators with master's degrees, especially those with less experience, would see a decrease in compensation from one year to the next.

When asked about the decrease, Cooper responded that every teacher will receive an increase in net salary as they move up steps, even if the amount is less than a teacher makes currently at that same level.

She also said that the board's proposal tries to address the difference in salary for veteran teachers in Clay Community Schools compared to state averages.

Teachers with no post-graduate credit would not see the decrease in total compensation until they reach step 23 on the schedule.

Teachers with a master's degree and beyond would not be negatively affected by the decrease from as early as step 18.

True said the teachers viewed the proposal as an insult because the veteran teachers refuse the idea of "selling out" younger and less experienced teachers.

Another controversial discrepancy between the board's ad and the salary schedule is the presentation of teacher's receiving a 12.9 percent to 15 percent increase in pay since the last contract was signed.

The percentages listed are true comparisons between the pay of a teacher on the current schedule and what they would earn under the new proposal, taking into consideration that the teacher has moved up five steps on the schedule since the last contract.

The percentages can be misleading.

On the current schedule, a teacher moving up five steps would see a 9.9 percent rise in net salary between their first and fifth year.

The proposed schedule would give that same teacher a 9 percent raise between their first and fifth year.

Corporation Business Manager Mike Fowler said that the corporation wanted to give a "comparison of where you were when we last settled to where you are today."

Cooper said the ad that was placed by the school corporation in Monday's edition of The Times to inform the public about the board's most recent salary proposal, and that the board believes the public should be informed about contract negotiations.

In response, the CCCTA is placing a paid ad in this upcoming Monday's paper.

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I would like to thank you for writing an article that gives both sides of the contract issue and fills in the missing information the school board omitted from their "ad." After reading your article, I have now realized how truly deceptive and misleading their "ad" was. I took the proposed salary schedule and applied it to our current status quo master contract. I am amazed how the numbers were manipulated. The 15% raise the school board manufactured comes from the comparison of a teacher on the old contract with no experience to a teacher with five years of experience on their proposed contract. This is a ludicrous comparison intended to deceive the public. I have 18 years of experience. When I compare my salary to the new one, I would receive a 3.95% raise, but take away the 3% cut in matching retirement benefits, and my total raise would be a mere .95%. Furthermore, comparing a teacher with 5 less years of experience to the corresponding scale on the proposed contract, it is easy to see how skewed the numbers are. The raise for a teacher with 13 years of experience is merely 2.6%. Take away the 3% retirement cut, and that teacher has a pay cut. This is why teachers are furious, and the public should be too. The school board and CCS administration have used the taxpayer's money to pay for an ad that deliberately deceives the public.

-- Posted by cubsdog on Fri, Sep 28, 2007, at 2:32 PM

I am very glad that Melinda talked to Russ True and CCTA about the contract negotiations and reported the teacher's side of this story. As a teacher, the contract dispute has been a nightmare, and the School Board needs to negotiate to a settlement. How can the School Board think that with teacher moral so low that Clay County Schools could be a good corporation?

-- Posted by 5longyears on Fri, Sep 28, 2007, at 2:39 PM

You are so right cubsdog...with 22 years of experience, with the board offer, I would get a (negative) -0.25 cut in pay and a take away of 3% of my retirement benefits. Why would the school board ever anticipate that the teachers would accept such an insulting offer.

-- Posted by 5longyears on Fri, Sep 28, 2007, at 2:56 PM

No matter how painful it is to our ELECTED school board they are going to have to settle this issue. There was a statement made by a school board member in another article regarding the 53M renovation project in which he voiced concerned that not having good school facilities would possibly discourage industry from locating to our community. I agree 100% with this statement but along with these renovations that need to happen now rather than later so does a resolution to this contract issue. How does a 5 year contract dispute stack up against any other community with similar business amenities as Clay County? The indecisiveness surrounding this is a much bigger black eye than the conditions of our school facilities. Both the CCCTA and the school board need to stop the mud slinging now before it gets any worse. Both sides need to remember the people you are slinging this mud at is your neighbor. Most importantly consider the example this is setting for the kids in the classrooms.

Our community has become known through out central Indiana for this kind of backwoods behavior. Break this bad habit of procrastination. Get this settled now and get the renovation project locked in now. The longer these two items linger on the more expensive they will become to the people who voted for you and pay taxes to pay the teachers.

-- Posted by Gizmo on Fri, Sep 28, 2007, at 4:07 PM

Why doesn't someone ask the board why they won't submit to binding arbitration? It's because anyone who would be picked to analyze the situation knows the money to make this all go away is already in place. No bond issues, no more taxes, no state begging, no bake sales............nothing needs to be done except the fair thing.

-- Posted by Bruther on Fri, Sep 28, 2007, at 11:45 PM

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