School district begins contract negotiations
School board representatives and employees in the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 199 met on Thursday, March 21, for contract negotiations.
“I think it went pretty well,” superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen said. “We were in session until about 7 p.m. discussing things and we will meet again on Monday.”
The SEIU represents the para-educators, cooks, custodians, and bus drivers in the Washington Community School District, Jorgensen said.
Some of the SEIU’s proposal to the district included asking for substitute time to count toward a probation period (90 days) when a long-term substitute is hired into a support position; an hourly wage increase of 40 cents or 14.96 percent; change personal leave from 120 days to 160 days; and compensation for certifications required by the district, state or federal guidelines.
In the district’s proposal they suggested a five-tiered salary schedule. This would give the more experienced employees higher wages, opportunity to participate in the district’s early retirement offers and health insurance plans that meet the coverage requirements under the Health Care Reform laws for support staff who work more than 30 hours.