Changes coming to Dickinson Public Schools teachers pay raise formula?Funding formulas can be difficult to understand and simplifying them can be a task, but that’s exactly what Dickinson Public Schools officials want with the formula used to increase teacher’s salaries, which currently tallies $14.1 million — and they want it to be fair.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
Funding formulas can be difficult to understand and simplifying them can be a task, but that’s exactly what Dickinson Public Schools officials want with the formula used to increase teacher’s salaries, which currently tallies $14.1 million — and they want it to be fair.
At the first collaborative bargaining meeting for the 2013-14 school year between the DPS School Board, administrators and teachers at the Central Administration Building on Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep said he saw disparities in the salary schedule and would like to equalize the formula so wage increases happen at a fair rate.
“It’s kind of an eye-opener for me that this salary schedule, over the course of many, many years, has been tweaked and poked and a number of collaborative bargaining sessions ago we talked about maybe cleaning it up and making it more … something that’s more uniform,” he said. “I think the goal should be — if we do that — that we make every effort to try to change the salary index without having losers.”
Reep had said at a recent budget committee meeting that it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire teachers at a starting salary of $31,500. The district has budgeted $14.1 million for licensed staff salaries for the 2012-13 school year.
The goal would be to make steps more equal for all affected parties, Chairman Brian Woehl said.
The index for salaries is quite complex and Reep would like to see it simplified without setting any teachers back.
“In my experience with bargaining, collaborative and adversarial, any time you mess with the index, it’s pretty sacred,” he said. “So we want to be careful and we want to move forward in a positive manner.”
Collaborative bargaining allows contractors and contractees to work together to set the terms of employment, versus adversarial bargaining where each side brings requests to the table.
“Collaborative bargaining came about to keep things mutual and civil between the School Board and the teachers so that we can work together instead of against each other on issues and come to mutually-agreed-upon solutions for things,” Woehl said.
The process is generally courteous and solutions can be agreed upon, he said.
“Of course, it always gets a little bit tense when we talk about money and we go back and forth,” Woehl said. “But we try not to do that as much as possible.”
The process is about bringing problems to the table and not solutions, Dickinson High School teacher Yvonne Seifert said.
Topics to be discussed at later meetings are salary, time off and results of a survey to determine other agenda items.
The next meeting will be in January, but a date and time have not been set.