Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Education Association wants legal and binding language added to district policies.
The association has 120 members and represents teachers and staff in the school district's collaborative bargaining process.
SSEA President Brad Kindred addressed the School Board on Monday.
Of immediate concern to the SSEA, Kindred said, is the membership's desire for legal and binding words to be added to all district policies. The wish stems from a 2004 lawsuit between the SSEA and the district after the School Board refused to accept a grievance filed by the SSEA.
The grievance challenged a 2004 School Board decision to declare a pay system negotiated with teachers unaffordable.
Part of the settlement, Kindred said, was to add preambles to declare that all district policies were collaboratively done.
"I'd like to see that put on the front burner," Kindred said. "We haven't had any movement on that. We are OK with policies as long as they are legal and binding. We just want a preamble to our policies, a simple statement that states they were arrived at through the collaborative bargaining system."
Superintendent Donna Howell said the Collaborative Bargaining Team, which includes teachers, support staff and administrators, is in the process of reviewing the district policies.
"I know we agreed to all policies as legally binding," Howell said.
The CBT process is a way for a broad sampling of district staff to work together to form policies, and Kindred wanted to reiterate SSEA's faith in the work of the CBT, most notably in its recent negotiations to bring district teachers and support staff to a salary mean. Many district employees received a pay raise.
The mean was calculated using salaries from school districts of comparable size, demographic and performance.
Kindred said SSEA would like the CBT process to be more public.
"I know it's a policy that CBT can't speak publicly, but I think it would be helpful for the public to know how we arrived at the mean," Kindred said. "The public stepped up big for us (and passed the mill levy override for pay increases). A lot of people thought we got pretty big raises. I think it would benefit us all for the public to know how they get to the mean."
Kindred said this would be his final year as president of SSEA, and that the board should consider some sort of compensation for the future president because of the time commitment the position requires.
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