The Bend-La Pine School District and Bend Education Association plan to request a state mediator to help them come to a contract agreement after months of talks.
“Everyone who has been involved in these negotiations and our employees who have been watching and waiting are ready to see us get this done,” said school district spokesman Scott Maben. “Everyone’s ready for a resolution now.”
Maben said both sides negotiated for eight hours Friday and 10 hours Monday.
“The teams made significant progress and announced four more contract issues on which they reached tentative agreements,” Maben said.
Among the agreements:
- Reduction in Force and Recall (Article 10)
- Learning Environment (Article 18)
- A Memorandum of Agreement addressing supervision duty for school counselors
- A Memorandum of Agreement addressing curricular overnight trips and the District’s 5th grade Outdoor School program
Another 10-hour negotiating session is planned for Jan. 29. The district said the sides are still trying to reach agreement on:
- Association Rights (Article 2)
- Professional Improvement (Article 6)
- Leaves (Article 7)
- Benefits (Article 12)
- Compensation (Article 13)
- Work Year (Article 15)
- Work Day/Teaching Hours (Article 16)
“The compensation and benefits and also the structure of the work day and the contract year for employees are outstanding issues,” Maben said.
“(A) Raise for the current year, basically to go in effect now at 10% and then an additional 6% increase that would start this summer at the beginning of the coming school year.” he said. “So that’s 16% for this year and next year.
“If we negotiate a four-year contract, they’re also asking that the third year of the contract, we set some kind of a minimum standard of what that increase would be, and year three would be tied to the consumer price index. And that’s just on compensation. And there are a lot of other pieces of the contract that involve expenses and costs. There are stipends, there is recognition of professional certifications, and there are benefits, of course.
“The school district’s proposal for the first two years of the contract would be 10% over those two years, just under 10%. So, between year one and year two, employees would see their pay increase by roughly 10%.”
The teachers have been working without a contract this school year.
“I don’t want to look past what we can accomplish in mediation at this point,” said Maben. “We don’t know how soon we can have a mediator here on the ground in Bend to help us. So, not knowing when mediation actually would begin and not knowing how much we can accomplish here just between the two sides over the next few weeks, that question sort of remains open at this point.”
The BEA released this statement Tuesday night:
“The BEA team is frustrated that the decision had to be made to call for mediation but hopeful that pulling in a mediator will help us reach a fair contract that establishes improved learning and working conditions for students and educators sooner rather than later. We will continue working with the District to reach a fair agreement while the steps are taken for the Employment Relations Board to assign a mediator. We have scheduled our next full-day bargaining session for Monday, January 29th.”