Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Colorado Springs D-11 employees to vote on proposed contract

By Debbie Kelley Updated: May 8, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Voting on a tentative contract agreement between the Pikes Peak region's only collective bargaining teachers' union and the region's largest school district opens at 5 p.m. Friday and closes at noon Tuesday.

The Colorado Springs Education Association is conducting electronic elections for union members to ratify the salary and benefits agreement reached last week with Colorado Springs School District 11.

All votes are anonymous and confidential, according to voting instructions.

District officials will not comment on the negotiations and contract until an approved agreement is in hand, said spokeswoman Devra Ashby. Then, the district will issue a statement.

Bargaining on 2014-2015 compensation for teachers and other union members, their workload, evaluation procedures and length of the master agreement between the union and the school district started April 23 and concluded May 3.

D-11 administrators proposed increasing teacher work time by 7 percent or 30 minutes a day.

The master agreement explains that it was the intention of the district administration to add five additional contract days to the district calendar, beginning with the 2006-2007 school year with one of the days being a teacher work day.

However, budget cuts resulting from the 2008-2011 recession allowed only three days to be added, two of which were subsequently furloughed as time off without pay.

Restoring the furlough days and contract days has remained a high priority for both parties, the master agreement states.

D-11 administrators also proposed a one-time non-recurring 2 percent compensation bonus paid after a new salary schedule is negotiated, along with traditional pay increases based on experience and education.

It appears that district officials backed down from those requests, and teachers are poised to not work additional hours next school year. The master agreement calls for 185 teacher work days. For the current school year, one required furlough day dropped the number to 184 days.

And the overall proposed wages and benefits package represents more than a 5 percent increase to employees' recurring compensation, according to a copy of the tentative agreement obtained by The Gazette.

Some of the conditions listed on the tentative agreement being considered for union member ratification include:

- No increase to the work day

- Restoring one remaining mandatory and unpaid furlough day

- Increasing the base pay from $29,016 to $32,306

- Raising all stipends to reflect the new base pay (including unfreezing coaching stipends)

- 1 percent additional compensation across the board

- D-11 to cover an insurance premium increase of 4.5 percent and a .9 percent employer contribution increase to the retirement fund

- Jointly developing a "communications protocol document to limit redundancy, improve communication, develop a consistent set of expectations, identify a chain of command and establish protocol to limit inconsistent directives"

- Giving employees who want to choice their child into a school priority placement

- Tabling any new language regarding evaluations for one year

- Extending the master agreement from expiring June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

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