Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Colorado Springs D-11 and teachers' union in contract negotiations

By Debbie Kelley Updated: May 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Contract negotiations between the Pikes Peak region's only collective bargaining teachers' union, the Colorado Springs Education Association, and Colorado Springs School District 11 started April 23 and have continued this week. Another session will be held Saturday.

On the table: District officials want to increase teacher work time by 7 percent, or 30 minutes a day. Teachers work 184 days a year.

Also being offered are traditional "steps and lanes" salary increases, which base pay advancements on years of service and educational degrees, and a one-time 2 percent bonus paid only if a new salary schedule is negotiated.

The school district would not elaborate on its proposal.

"Because this is a current topic of ongoing negotiations, the district will not be making a statement on this discussion topic," said Devra Ashby, spokeswoman.

The D-11 administration team made its first proposal regarding salaries, teacher stipends, benefits and post-employment benefits on April 23, and union leaders presented their initial offer Thursday at the Tesla Educational Center.

The union's president, Kevin Vick, did not respond to inquiries for comment.

As per the master agreement between the two groups, which was adopted July 1, 2013 and runs through June 30, 2015, negotiations regarding "economics" are open to the public, and discussions considered "solutions" are closed to the public. Saturday's session is closed, Ashby said.

Participants involved in the negotiations asked that videotaping, audio recording and note-taking by observers be banned.

The current school year marked the first time in four years that D-11 employees got a salary increase. The district approved a $9.3 million wages and benefits package for the 2013-2014 academic year, which included a 4 percent, one-time bonus for all D-11 employees, and an additional 1 percent raise for top executives and 10-cent-per-hour annual increase for support staff.

The district also reduced required unpaid furlough days from two to one, picked up a 2.8 percent increase in insurance premiums and increased retirement contributions by .9 percent.

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