MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison teachers and other school workers ratified new contracts Sunday, ensuring deals will be in place before the governor's budget repair law goes into effect.
Five bargaining units approved contracts including teachers, substitute teachers, educational and special educational assistants, supportive educational employees, and school security assistants. The contracts are effective immediately and last until June 30, 2013.
School district administrators negotiated with MTI representatives in marathon session Friday to come up with the deals.
"Nobody's happy, but we're still standing," MTI-president elect Peggy Coyne said.
Employees will pay half of their pension costs and 5% to 15% more for their health insurance. There will also be a salary freeze.
"We knew it was going to be a horrible situation, but it's better than if we didn't do anything," said Sue Filo, a teacher from LaFollette High School.
One bargaining unit, the educational assistants, walked out of the closed session meeting to discuss their contract privately, according to MTI members.
"It was very emotional," said Ashley Ahlborn, a special education assistant. "Teachers stood up for us [in solidarity] when we exited, and they stood up for us when we came back."
Educational assistants were concerned about a provision that would allow the district to change wages and require higher health insurance premium contributions with no negotiation in the 2012-2013 school year, but ultimately approved the contract. The teachers was not subject to this provision.
"We can take a hit in paying more for our retirement, we can take a hit paying more for our health benefits, but to have them be eliminated completely, which could have been a possibility had we not signed the contract today, that would have been devastating," said Donna Braun, a nursing assistant covered by the educational assistants bargaining unit.
District superintendent Dan Nerad said he was pleased both the school board and the teachers union were able to meet their respective needs through collective bargaining in a phone interview after the vote.
But some critics say the district rushed through the process, and should have waited until the governor's law takes effect.
"What the board, what the district, and what our community really needs is flexibility," said Don Severson of Active Citizens for Education. "The board has been really hamstrung, not only financially, but from an operations standpoint in a variety of ways, to make systemic changes."
Severson says impending collective bargaining restrictions could have enabled the district to make more sweeping changes to address the achievement gap, and pass more savings onto the classroom where they could help students learn more effectively.
Superintendent Nerad denies claims that the board acted too quickly, and said special attention was paid to contentious issues during the 18 hours of negotiations Friday morning into Saturday.
The deals also included a provision to add minutes to the school day to make up for the four days canceled while many teachers protested the governor's budget proposals.
Days will start getting longer March 21. The district has yet to announce how many minutes it will add.
MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison School District and the Madison Teachers' Union reached tentative contract agreements Saturday.
The agreements for five bargaining units, including teachers, subs, educational and special ed assistants, supportive educational employees, and school security assistants.
A press release from Madison School District said district administrators and MTI reps negotiated from 9:00 AM Friday until 3:00 AM Saturday.
The contract agreements extend through June 30, 2013.
The school district also agreed on how to make up those days many teachers in the Madison School District missed by "calling in sick" to attend rallies at the Capitol.
They decided teachers who missed would have their pay deducted from those days, and the school days will now be longer to make up for those missing days beginning March 21.
For the full text of MMSD's press release, see below:
Madison School District and MTI reach tentative contract agreements
The Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Teachers, Inc. have reached tentative contract agreements for five bargaining units: teachers, substitute teachers, educational and special educational assistants, supportive educational employees, and school security assistants.
District administrators, with the guidance of the Board of Education, and MTI reps negotiated from 9:00 a.m. Friday until 3:00 a.m. Saturday when the tentative agreements were completed.
The Board of Education held a Special Meeting today at 2:00 p.m. and ratified the five collective bargaining agreements. The five MTI units must also ratify before the contracts take effect.
Summary of the agreements.
Teachers – effective upon ratification through June 30, 2013
• Employees contribute 50% of the total requirement to the WI Retirement System (WRS); savings to MMSD: $11 million for all employee groups.
• Salaries – year 1 Freeze salary schedule at 2010-11 rates; allow track and level advancement; savings to MMSD: $1.9 million.
• Salaries – year 2 Freeze salary schedule at 2010-11 rates; allow track and level advancement; savings to MMSD: $1.9 million.
• Health insurance – year 1 The district can require premium contributions which will not exceed 5% for those employees enrolled in GHC, and not exceed 15% for those employees enrolled in WPS; potential savings to MMSD: $1.7 million
• Health insurance – year 2 Eliminate WPS option and provide same health insurance options as provided to MTI support units with premium contributions not to exceed 10%; potential savings to MMSD: $5.7 million.
• Language allows the Board of Education discretion in making-up lost instructional time.
• Language allows for more defined professional development on Monday afternoons at the elementary level.
• Language extends the deadline for application to the Teacher Emeritus Retirement Program to April 15, 2011 (was March 15, 2011).
• Changes in assignment, reassignment and involuntary transfer language; savings to MMSD: $750,000.
• Language allows supervision of student transportation
• Language allows elimination of visitation day; savings to MMSD: $125,000.
• Eliminate WEAC (October) and SWEIO (February) conference days and replace with three professional development days.
Make up minutes
• Pay deduction for time missed
• Letters of expectation
• Fraudulent excuses result in suspension
• No amnesty
• School schedule change for remainder of 2010-11 year: longer school days beginning March 21; district will calculate extra minutes and announce.
Support units including supportive educational employees (SEE), educational and special educational assistants, and school security assistants - effective upon ratification through June 30, 2013
• Employees contribute 50% of the total requirement to the WRS.
• Freeze salary schedules at 2009-10 levels; allow track and level advancement. In 2012-13, the district can increase and decrease wages without negotiating with the union.
• The district can require health insurance premium contributions not to exceed 5%; in 2012-13, the district can require an increased premium contribution without negotiating with the union.
Substitute teachers - effective upon ratification through June 30, 2013
• Employees contribute 50% of the total requirement to the WRS.
• Freeze salary schedules at 2010-11 levels; allow track advancement. In 2012-13, freeze salary schedule at 2010-11 levels; no track advancement.
• Permit eligibility to 60 substitute teachers and district contribution remains at $400 per month.
UPDATE (WKOW) -- The Madison School Board will vote Saturday at 2 PM to extend teachers' current contracts.
They'll vote to extend the contracts through 2013.
The vote comes after a lengthy meeting Friday night that latest until 3:30 AM.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Many teachers unions across the state are trying to extend their collective bargaining agreements before the new budget repair bill takes effect, including the Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI), the union representing Madison teachers.
More than 1,000 teachers gathered at the Alliant Energy Center Coliseum Friday night, where they may be voting on extending their collective bargaining agreements through 2013.
The president of MTI says what they are doing Friday night is unprecedented.
This is because they are not only trying to extend teachers' contracts, which expire June 30th, but several other bargaining units including clerical staff and school janitors.
Teachers are trying to extend their current contract, which includes restricting classroom size and allowing prep-time for elementary teachers.
MTI leaders say the mediations were held at the Doyle Administration building since 9:00 AM Friday and they came to no agreement.
"I think some members of the board think that giving Madison teachers a voice in their profession and their working conditions, which directly impact the children, the Madison teacher has been too loud and they want to minimize the voice in the classroom," said Steve Pike, former MTI President.
If they were to extend their agreements - the new bill would not affect their union's agreement until it would expire.
We'll have the latest for you if there is a conclusion on Wake Up Wisconsin Weekend and WKOW.com.
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