Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 1, 2014

Contract settled for Fairfield school teachers

By VICKI TILLIS, Ledger news editor | Aug 19, 2010

Fairfield Community School District and Fairfield Community Education Association finally have a contract for the 2010-2011 school year that results in a 2.27 percent increase of the teachers’ total package.

Dennis Krueger, an arbitrator for the Iowa Public Employment Board, decided, on the impasse of wages, the final offer proposed by the FCEA was awarded, and on the impasse of personal business leaves, the final offer proposed by the district was awarded.

For wages, the current generator base of $24,210, plus the incorporation of Teacher Salary Supplement funds, which are to be distributed equally at $4,809 per teacher, for a combined schedule base of $29,019. The teachers also will receive a step movement up the salary schedule.

“The FCEA negotiations team is pleased that arbitration ruled our educators were deserving of a step movement on the salary schedule based on comparisons to other districts,” commented Sue Carr, chief negotiator for the FCEA. “Given that teachers had a step freeze last year as well as a mid-year wage cut of Teacher Quality compensation dollars, the salary step is especially important.”

“The integration of the TSS money from the state does not reflect an increase over last year’s wages, but rather places those dollars within the teacher’s salary schedule instead of as a separate figure,” said Carr.

The district had proposed the generator base of the wage scale remain at $24,210 and teachers start the 2010-11 school year on their current step of the wage scale, then move up one step in March and receive those wages for the remainder of the school year. New teachers would have been hired at the appropriate step and not stepped up mid year.

The rationale of the district’s plan was to allow teachers to make a step movement, but to reduce the total cost of the movement to within reason to the district’s financial health.

“Due to the high number of retirees and the hiring of many new and less experienced teachers, as well as the FCEA’s earlier agreement to adopt a less costly insurance, the district will have those funds available to cover much of the step increase cost,” said Carr.

“We felt the association’s final offer for wages and salary was a fair settlement, even though the percent increase was below the state average,” she continued.

The district’s proposal, according to FCEA representatives during the arbitration hearing, would have resulted in a 1.53 percent increase, including a legislated IPERS increase of 0.3 percent and a health insurance increase of 11.5 percent.

“These are tough economic times and the board of directors is attempting to be a good steward of the district’s resources in all areas, including wages and salaries,” said superintendent Don Achelpohl.

According Achelpohl, the decision was received in a timely manner allowing the first payroll for the new school year to follow the arbitrator’s decision. September paychecks for teachers and nurses will reflect the settlement.

Under personal business leaves, Krueger ruled the contract will continue as it presently is administered. Teachers cannot take a personal business day for vacation, recreation, job searching or anything that can be done outside of school hours. Plus, they are required to give a reason when they request taking a personal day.

For the complete article, see the Friday, Aug. 20, 2010, printed edition of The Fairfield Ledger.

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