The Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education and the Madison Teachers, Inc. ratified an expedited Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2011-2013. Several significant considerations were ignored for the negative impact and consequences on students, staff and taxpayers.
First and foremost, there was NO ‘urgent’ need (nor ANY need at all) to ‘negotiate’ a new contract. The current contract doesn’t expire until June 30, 2011. Given the proposals regarding school finance and collective bargaining processes in the Budget Repair Bill before the legislature there were significant opportunities and expectations for educational, management and labor reforms. With such changes imminent, there was little value in ‘locking in’ the restrictive old provisions for conducting operations and relationships and shutting the door on different opportunities for increasing educational improvements and performances in the teaching and learning culture and costs of educating the students of the district.
A partial listing of the missed adjustments and opportunities with the ratification of the teacher collective bargaining agreement should be instructive.
- Keeping the ‘step and advancement’ salary schedule locks in automatic salary increases; thereby establishing a new basis annually for salary adjustments. The schedule awards increases solely on tenure and educational attainment. This also significantly inhibits movement for development and implementation of ‘pay for performance’ and merit.
- Continues the MOU agreement requiring 50% of teachers in 4-K programs (public and private sites combined) to be state certified and union members
- Continues required union membership. There are 2700 total or 2400 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers, numbers rounded. Full-time teachers pay $1100.00 (pro-rated for part-time) per year in automatic union dues deducted from paychecks and processed by the District. With 2400 FTE multiplied by $1100 equals $2,640,000 per year multiplied by two years of the collective bargaining unit equals $5,280,000 to be paid by teachers to their union (Madison Teachers Inc., for its union activities). These figures do not include staff members in the clerical and teacher assistant bargaining units who also pay union dues, but at a lower rate.
- Continues to limit and delay processes for eliminating non-performing teachers Inhibits abilities of the District to determine the length and configuration of the school day, length and configuration of the school year calendar including professional development, breaks and summer school
- Inhibits movement and placement of teachers where needed and best suited
- Restricts adjustments to class sizes and teacher-pupil ratios
- Continues very costly grievance options and procedures and litigation
- Inhibits the District from developing attendance area level teacher/administrator councils for collaboration in problem-solving, built on trust and relationships in a non-confrontational environment
- Continues costly extra-duties and extra-curricular agreements and processes
- Restricts flexibility for teacher input and participation in professional development, curriculum selection and development and performance evaluation at the building level
- Continues Teacher Emeritus Retirement Program (TERP), costing upwards to $3M per year
- Does not require teacher sharing in costs of health insurance premiums
- Did not immediately eliminate extremely expensive Preferred Provider (WPS) health insurance plan
- Did not significantly address health insurance reforms
- Does not allow for reviews and possible reforms of Sick Leave and Disability Leave policies
- Continues to be the basis for establishing “me too” contract agreements with administrators for salaries and benefits. This has impacts on CBAs with other employee units, i.e., support staff, custodians, food service employees, etc.
- Continues inflexibilities for moving staff and resources based on changes and interpretations of state and federal program supported mandates
- Inhibits educational reforms related to reading and math and other core courses, as well as reforms in the high schools and alternative programs
Each and every one of the above items has a financial cost associated with it. These are the so-called ‘hidden costs’ of the collective bargaining process that contribute to the over-all costs of the District and to restrictions for undertaking reforms in the educational system and the District. These costs could have been eliminated, reduced, minimized and/ or re-allocated in order to support reforms and higher priorities with more direct impact on academic achievement and staff performance.
For further information and discussion contact:
Don Severson President
Active Citizens for Education
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