Last evening BCEA Co-President, Maritt Wolfrom, attended the June 13, 2017 Board of Trustee's meeting and gave a public comment regarding the ratification vote on the 2017-2018 Master Agreement (SEE Draft Master Agreement below). This comment followed the Board's Budget Hearing. During the Budget Hearing it was proposed that the duties of the Transportation Director and the Assistant Superintendent be reallocated as follows:
• Director of Transportation
• Assistant Superintendent
Create the following positions:
- Transportation Supervisor – Classified Salary Schedule – Pay Grade 8. This position will coordinate and supervise the provision of safe and efficient pupil transportation for the School District in collaboration with schools and parents.
- Student Safety and Interagency Relations Supervisor – Certified Salary Schedule or Classified Salary Schedule, Pay Grade 8. This position would provide executive assistance to the Superintendent, serving as her/his designee in supporting and ensuring student and family concerns are addressed, interagency partnerships are supported and strengthened, safety and security supports are ongoing and continuously updated, and policy and procedures are revised as needed.
- Superintendent Designee - Stipend for current administrator (with proper certification) to also serve as the Superintendent Designee when needed. This individual would be available to serve in the absence of the Superintendent with emergencies or other time sensitive issues.
- Two Reserve teacher FTE - In addition, due to higher than expected elementary early enrollment numbers at two of the District’s elementary schools, it is recommended that two teacher FTEs be placed in reserve for possible use in mid to late summer as enrollment numbers at the elementary schools become clearer.
• Transportation Supervisor
• Student Safety and Interagency Relations Supervisor
• 2 Reserve Teacher FTEs
• Stipend for Superintendent Designee
The Blaine County Education Association held a second ratification vote Monday June 12, 2017 from 1-4 pm at the Community campus in an attempt to get the necessary quorum of 111 votes. Of our 221 active certified members, 137 cast ballots reaching a quorum necessary for the vote to count. The results of this vote were extremely close with 49% of the voting membership casting NO ballots and 51% casting YES ballots. Once again ratification was reached by an extremely close margin. The Master Agreement was ratified by a margin of 3 votes.
It is important to note that we are not taking a raise but instead decided to swap one form of compensation for another. The certified staff is covering the cost of 2/3rds of the 1% increase. The money being placed on the base is the result of our Association not taking an increase last year and by considerably reducing our insurance benefits this year. Meanwhile, our work loads have increased and our working conditions have resulted in dissatisfaction.
We would appreciate members of the Board and Administrative Team supporting teachers in conversations with the public- teachers are well educated and we continue our education to stay certified and highly qualified in our profession. Many of our BCSD staff hold master’s degrees in education and content.
This Board has a conundrum . . .how do you keep a staff motivated to do what is best for students when they are feeling demoralized and disrespected as professionals. How do you attract people to come work here for years into the future when it is difficult to afford to live here? Please don’t celebrate this vote beyond, being glad it is over. The BCEA and it’s membership feel that this is essentially a climate survey and the climate has changed. Many members are sending a message of dissatisfaction with their salaries, benefits, and working conditions. We would also like to request that the Board run a climate survey to gain specific insight to the nature of the dissatisfaction. While we have anecdotal evidence we feel something more thorough and scientific would be appropriate. The BCEA would be willing to assist in crafting questions regarding professional development, building administration leadership, District administration leadership, and Board leadership. People want to be heard and listened to. They want input into the direction of the District. Ultimately our working conditions are our student’s learning conditions and happy teachers mean happy well educated students.
Thank you for your service. We realize that your’s is a volunteer position and it takes a great deal of time. We would especially like to thank Ellen Mandeville for the hours put towards negotiations as well as Rob Clayton.
Tryntje Van Slyke & Maritt Wolfrom & the 2017 BCEA Negotiations Team