Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Village Buzz - March 25th...

Education, Germantown, Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Buzz

I have received some details concerning the Germantown Education Association's negotiations with the Germantown School Board that give a better overview of that process.

The Wisconsin Employment Relations Council (WERC) has declared an impasse in the negotiations.  The school board voted 7-0 on Monday evening to go the route of a Qualified Economic Offer (QEO).  So, the state law limiting the total amount awarded to a 3.8% increase is now in place.

This process has been going on for some eighteen months in the attempt to reach an agreement on the 2007-2009 contract.  The last time that the two parties met face-to-face was on October 7, 2008.  At that time the GEA walked away from the table and said they would only return if more money was laid on the table.

The QEO that is now in place means that the GEA will continue with the same WEAC health plan and all the benefits they had at that time.  The school district's finance office calculates the cost of the total benefit plan per teacher to be approximately 85% of an entry-level teacher's annual salary.

With the QEO in place, most of the roughly 270 GEA members will receive salary increases of from 10% to 14%.  Those who have achieved certain benchmarks for additional college credits will receive salary increases that are much more than 14%; the teachers who are at the top of the pay scale will receive increases of less than 4%.

The school board's negotiators tried to avoid this apparent inequality and wanted to put the greatest amount of salary increase at the top end of the scale.  Their belief was that those who have served the students of the District the longest, and who had put forth the effort and personal expense to obtain a Masters Degree plus 30 or more hours of added college credit should receive more than a bare minimum increase.

The GEA disagreed with this logic, however.  As an alternative, the board's negotiating team would have considered dividing the available salary by the total number of GEA member teachers and making the distribution on an equal basis per teacher.  That was rejected, as well, with the GEA saying that more money should be put on the table.

The school board appears to recognize that there is not an endless supply of money available to it, but the GEA is not subscribing to that reality.

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