Broward declares impasse in contract negotiations with teachers
From the Broward School Board:
After six months of negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with the Broward Teachers Union (BTU), The School Board of Broward County, Florida, has declared impasse in negotiations for the 2010/11 school year.
On April 7, 2011, the Board presented a comprehensive proposal, which gave the teachers the step increase they were seeking. The step increase (1.86%) would be retroactive to January 2011 with a $250 bonus (FRS contribution) for teachers on step 22. The District can only accomplish the step increase by asking the BTU to work with us and consider cost saving measures in order to fund this proposal.
Also, the BTU’s requirement to have a ratified contract, prior to agreement (signoff) on the Race to the Top and School Improvement grants created an unnecessary barrier in order to reach an agreement. These grants provide over $66 million to fund specific initiatives/programs, such as: Pay for Performance, Differentiated Accountability teacher incentive dollars and technology enhancements for schools. Much of these unfunded requirements will be forthcoming from the state legislature and will require the District to use general fund dollars, which would only cause further cuts to the District’s 2011-12 budget.
The District is hopeful that these matters can be resolved expeditiously with the BTU and that all parties can move forward and work collaboratively to meet the challenges facing our District.
Response from Pat Santeramo, Broward Teachers’ Union President
“The BTU finds unfortunate Superintendent Jim Notter’s decision to go to impasse in the ongoing contract negotiations for the 2010-2011 school year as this presents an unnecessary burden for the district’s new superintendent and all of the school system’s employees after Notter’s resignation takes effect in June.
“Sadly, Notter’s proposal that would provide teachers with a salary schedule step increase retroactive to January 2011 was largely contingent upon the union signing off on contract language that would give up the teachers, parents and other community members’ legal right to vote on their respective school’s schedule, which according to Florida statute the union is precluded from doing.
“Notter’s proposed average 1.86 percent increase was actually an average .98 percent increase due to the fact that it would be implemented mid-year retroactive to January 2011 and with all of the additional concessions that the district’s negotiators were requesting such as instructional staff giving up their $300 insurance cafeteria benefit nearly all teachers would experience a salary decrease and a loss of income.
“The union’s members – Broward schools’ hardworking education professionals – remain willing to continue contract negotiations in an effort to reach an agreement while the two sides select an impasse special magistrate and schedule the first impasse hearing.
“The declaration of impasse does not preclude the union and district negotiators from reaching a contract agreement prior to the impasse hearing, which will likely take several months to schedule.
“The district’s 16,000 instructional staff remain confident that through good faith contract negotiations, the two sides can continue to try and reach an agreement despite the district’s declaration of impasse today.”
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