Settlement Hopes Crushed After Teachers’ Union Rejects 7.5% Raise in 3-year deal: contract talks at impasse; School Board to make final decision

An image of an empty classroom with rows of desks and chairs.

Rejection by the teachers' union negotiating team of an average 7.5% raise in a 3-year deal on Tuesday ended hope for a contract settlement.  After Tuesday's nearly 16-hour negotiating session on October 9 resulted in the union's rejection of another proposal by the Volusia County School Board's negotiating team, it became clear that contract talks would not result in a settlement.  The teachers' union president did not commit to continuing negotiations on a day during this or next week.

 

After reviewing where the contract talks stood yesterday, the district faced the reality that talks were at an impasse.  Under the impasse process, the school board will make the final decision on all outstanding issues, including raises.  But the result of the impasse process is a one-year contract, not the three-year deal offered by the board's negotiating team.

 

"We desperately tried to compromise and settle contract talks and do what is right for our students and teachers," stated board negotiating team member and high school principal Matt Krajewski.  "I am stunned and disappointed by the union's decision."

 

Below are highlights of the last negotiating session that ended at midnight:

 

  • Three-year deal. Proposed average teachers' raise of 2.5% for this school year plus 2.5% raise in each of the next two school years, subject to state funding.
  • Longevity bonus. Proposed longevity bonus for teachers with at least 15 years of VCS experience as part of the average raise of 2.5% for this school year.
  • New bonus of up to $4,000.  Proposed new bonus program for teachers at 'DD' through 'F' schools.
  • Increase to supplements/stipends. Proposed 6% increase to supplements and stipends (2% each year over the next 3 years).
  • Dental insurance subsidy. Proposed to restore Board's dental insurance contribution negotiated with the union through 2020-2021, which expired on June 30, 2018, under the prior union settlement.
  • Health insurance subsidy. Proposed increase to Board's health insurance contribution by an additional $20 per month by 2020-2021.
  • Raise distribution. Proposed to form a committee to recommend possible changes to performance pay plan used to distribute raises negotiated with the union three years ago.
  • Reduced meetings. Proposed to reduce the number of potential meetings by up to 25%.
  • Elementary day. Agreed to propose a change to the elementary school work day by 30 minutes over two years to match the secondary school work day.  This would bring the elementary day in line with surrounding districts and restore instructional time lost to recess and planning time.
  • Opportunities for flexibility. Agreed to changes to current union contract to allow a faculty, with its principal, to seek flexibility from mandates of the union contract through a waiver vote of at least 2/3 of the faculty, rather than the current 80% vote requirement. 

​"I thank the members of our negotiating team for their efforts since April," stated Superintendent Tom Russell.  "It is time to move forward and get these matters resolved for the benefit of our students, employees and community."

 

Proposals exchanged by the school district and each union and video of sessions are available on the district's website:  Click Here