Response to Statement on TAAAC / Board Impasse

In the Capital/Gazette yesterday, June 23, 2016, the following statement appeared:

Stacy Korbelak, school board president, said the union’s requests for more compensations came too late in the budget schedule. The school system would have to pull money from other parts of the budget to pay for additional compensation, she said.

“Do you not hire teachers, not fund the next year of STEM, not pay for pre-K?” she said. “There’s a finite pot of money.”

She said the teachers union should have communicated these issues last summer or fall, before the superintendent presented his budget.

Ms. Korbelak, who has proven to be a thoughtful, conscientious and fair Board member in the eyes of most of us who do business with her, may not have been aware of what was happening at the bargaining table.

TAAAC leadership has been very clear on and off the bargaining table since finishing the troublesome FY2016 settlement that a step increase was the first priority. But when made, the statement was consistently followed by the caveat, “but TAAAC can’t settle for only a step increase.” It’s been a constant in any over our conversations about salaries.

More importantly, readers need to know that TAAAC did exactly what Ms. Korbelak said should be done. That is, to bring the proposal timely.

Procedures for bargaining have been in place for many years. The current version is memorialized in Article 22 of the Negotiated Agreement Between the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County and the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County. Negotiations are to be begin by the second Friday in October and no new proposals are allowed after the second session. Partially due to the FY16 Agreement not being settled until the end of September and not ratified by October 21st, the initial FY17 session did not occur until October 23rd.

In accordance with the Article 22, TAAAC made a compensation proposal on November 16th, the second session of bargaining, and one month before Dr. Arlotto’s budget presentation, and three months before the Board adopted its budget request. The November compensation proposal included one full step at the beginning of the year, a second step at mid-year, and a 3% cost of living increase.

Below, readers will find an excerpt from an update distributed by TAAAC on November 16, 2015. Members of the administration and I spoke shortly after its distribution.

TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

11/16/15
NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

Negotiating teams for TAAAC and the Board exchanged the first round of proposals today. Today’s proposals included:

BOARD

  • Modify the required notice for resignations during the school year
  • Clarify the procedure for weather related early closings to accommodate unusual circumstances
  • Eliminate the last of the three-year experience reduction for new hires
  • Eliminate automatic step increases in current contract language
  • Modify current administration of Family and Medical Leave
  • Expand the practice of department chairs conducting observations
  • Re-visit Annapolis High School Memorandum of Understanding
  • Review prescription drug co-pays
  • Examine impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

TAAAC

  • Create SLO review committees to facilitate development of fair SLO’s
  • Increase tuition payments amounts and provide same as an advance rather than a reimbursement
  • One full step increase at the beginning of fiscal year 2017 and a second step at mid-year
  • An increase across-the-board of 3%
  • Treat all Unit I employees in a consistent manner during weather related early closings
  • Waive out-of-district tuition for Unit 1 employees who reside out-of-county but register their children in the AACPS.
  • Create stipend for school social workers who earn national school social worker certification
  • Limit amount of teaching time (back-to-back classes or otherwise) without a break
  • Increase extra-instructional pay
  • Restrict teachers from teaching or supervising students more than 180 days per school year
  • Increase elementary planning time
  • Provide an opportunity for Unit I employees in challenged schools to “opt out” by volunteering to be excessed list

The proposals were made beyond that of a simple step increase should not have been a surprise to anyone, and should not be treated as such.