Contract and guideline negotiation discussions were the reason for the special meeting called by the East Allen County Schools Board of Trustees on Oct. 13.
The collective bargaining agreement between East Allen Educators Association and the district was discussed and explained along with the administrative guidelines for groups such as administrators, substitute personnel and paraprofessionals.
Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Kirby Stahly explained some of the highlights of the tentative teacher contract.
“The compensation model, this is a two-year agreement that’s being proposed,” Stahly said. “The first year, the compensation model that would be distributed to returning teachers based on the number of points that they receive is $2,606,000. In the second year, it would be $1,755,00 that would be distributed based on the point totals they each receive.”
Many adjustments were made to the previous contract, and an updated salary scale for new hires was introduced based on years of experience and education. The salary range for a new hire with a bachelor’s degree would be $43,200-$62,250, and new hires with master’s degrees would range from $44,875-$74,185 for the 2021-2022 school year.
In the 2022-2023 school year, new hire salaries would increase by $2,500 from the range from the previous year.
EACS offered to contribute more to teachers’ health insurance for employees and employees who also have their spouse on their insurance. But, for employees with children or employees with families also being covered, the district would pay less — 2.63% and 1.45%, respectively.
Raises for extra-duty positions such as athletic coaches and sponsors were also proposed to try to stay competitive with neighboring districts.
After Stahly finished explaining the highlights of the contract, administrative guidelines were reviewed for all other employees. These changes were presented to the Board by Chief Financial Officer Patrick McCann and Director of Human Resources Tina Grady.
Increases were proposed, but the group that caused the most questions from the board was paraprofessionals.
Grady presented these guidelines. In August 2005, the board at the time agreed to the meet and confer process for four groups — food service, nurses, paraprofessionals, and secretaries. This process replaced collective bargaining for these groups.
Discussions with these groups started in mid-September. Grady reported what some of their requests were and what the administration recommends for those requests.
Nurses requested to have a voice in policy that affects them.
“Our administration agreed to the extent that that’s possible,” Grady said.
Secondly, additional training was something the group desired. Currently, they receive 1.5 days of training, but they want 3-10 days. The administration offered to incorporate those days at specific times of the year, such as before school starts and during in-service days.
Food service workers requested a 60-cent to $3 increase in hourly pay. They also asked for an increase in pay steps because they currently cap out at eight years, and paid holidays. Grady said the administration does not recommend the last two requests. McCann proposed an increase of $1.15 for the first calendar year and an additional 80 cents for calendar year 2023. Health insurance benefits would be improved to the same as those of administrators.
“The purpose of this is to attract and retain employees,” McCann said.
Secretaries asked for an increase in pay, holiday pay and vacation days. Grady said the administration does not recommend paying for the extra days. They also want a title change from secretary to administrative assistant, which she said the administration also did not recommend.
McCann proposed an increase for the secretaries of $1.20 per hour for 2022 and 80 cents for 2023. Their health insurance is on the administrative level currently.
Special education paraprofessionals asked to be paid at a higher rate than general education paraprofessionals.
“Not all paras in the room agreed on that change,” Grady said. “We would not be recommending a salary differential for special education paraprofessionals at this time.”
McCann said there are multiple types of paraprofessionals, and they perform different roles. The administration did not want to differentiate between them to keep that group equal.
They also asked for holiday pay, which Grady said the administration would not recommend. A raise of $1-$2 was requested as well. Paraprofessionals are also under the eight-step process for raises and asked for more steps, which Grady said the administration did not recommend. The administration will provide adjusted insurance prices, though.
McCann recommended an increase of $1 per hour for paraprofessionals as a whole for the 2022 calendar year and an additional 20 cents for 2023. He also said the district should raise their health insurance to the administrative health insurance package. Also, he recommended shortening the probationary period from 90 days to 30 calendar days to get people on insurance plans quicker.
Nurses also asked for a wage increase.
“We recognize all of the additional responsibilities that nurses are facing as of late, and we are proposing a more substantial increase for our nursing group,” McCann said. “The increase would be $3.20 per hour for calendar year ‘22, with an additional $2 for calendar year ‘23.”
He said the administration recommended those changes.
The approval of these contracts and guidelines would be retroactive to a to-be-determined date.
At the next regular meeting on Oct. 19, a public hearing will be held for those who would like to voice their opinions. The timetable for approving or denying these requests has not been released.