Negotiations bear some fruit for teachers

Fruitland School Board Chairman Kelly Henggeler, right, addresses the Board on Aug. 10. The District approved its 2020-21 contract at this meeting, with small changes for the new school year.

FRUITLAND - Even though COVID-19 has trimmed down what school employees can expect in exchange for their services, the Fruitland School DIstrict said it has made what it could as it works with the Fruitland Education Association.

At their Aug. 10 regular meeting, members of the School Board adopted the District’s Collective Bargaining Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding for the 2020-2021 school year.

The negotiated pay and benefits includes these changes:

• Certain employees under Professional Tiers 1 through 3 residency restrictions will see pay increases, with salaries now beginning at $40,000 per year for Tier 1, $40,500 for Tier 2 and $41,000 for Tier 3, up from $38,500, $39,000 and $39,500 respectively in 2019-2020. All other employees on the District’s career ladder will retain their 2019-2020 pay rates; Idaho Code prevents certified personnel from taking pay cuts over the previous year. Salary for new employees will be based on where they land on the career ladder.

• In 2020-2021, the District will continue to receive $2,000 in additional funds for employees holding a professional endorsement and have 24 or more college credits beyond Bachelor’s Degree requirements. It will receive $3,500 for those with professional endorsement and a Master’s Degree.

• Certain dental insurance policies have been switched from Willamette to Dental Blue Connect

• For all employees, the District will pay $630 towards medical insurance, up to $39 towards dental insurance and $6.89 toward vision benefits

• Sick leave is available to certified staff at the rate of one day for each month of service, and sick leave accrued elsewhere in Idaho is transferrable to Fruitland. Certified staff are also able to chip in to the District’s sick leave bank, available to all employees to help minimize the impact of having to go on sick leave, from Sep. 1 to Oct. 15 or when the bank falls below 20 days

Superintendent Lyle Bayley said changes to wording in the contract for the coming school year were minimal, and lamented that pay increases were as limited as they are.

“[There] wasn’t many funds to bargain for, unfortunately, in these times,” said Bayley. We appreciate the work that the [Fruitland Education Association] did and the negotiation team to kind of bring us to this point. There was a lot of meetings involved … Not a positive situation, but a very positive conversation.”

Bayley said further meetings are planned to update policy wording going into 2021. Board Chairman Kelly Henggeler said the aim for now is to get more stakeholders to the bargaining table to draft policy language, including around pay structure and teacher evaluations.

“A lot of these conversations took place in June because of not attending school, the inability to get together in the month of May,” said Henggeler. “That’s gonna be the charge of Mr. Bayley.”

The motion to approve the contract and memorandum was made by Board member Matt Frye, seconded by Board member Layne Howell. The vote to approve was unanimous.

The agreement is valid until June 30, 2021.

Load comments