By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
No action was taken, but members of the Liberal National Education Association and officials from USD No. 480 discussed some of the concerns the district has for the next fiscal year during negotiations Wednesday.
One main issue was that of in-services for teachers. Lead negotiator Wayne Tate said the district wants to have an agreement that states that if the board is paying an employee to attend an in service during contractual time, that employee must attend or lose a personal day.
“The board is paying so much for so many participants,” he said. “If you sign up, you have to show up.”
It was suggested the language in the clause be changed to say “If the employee registers to attend but then does not show up and the spot cannot be filled.” LNEA has not accepted this part of the agreement.
LNEA member LeAnn Hebbert asked whose responsibility it would be to fill spots in an in service.
“I wouldn’t think it would be the board’s responsibility,” Tate said. “I think if the teacher cancels, it would be their responsibility to either get somebody to fill the spot or lose the pay.”
LNEA lead negotiator Brent Goodwin inquired as to having another means of dealing with in-service abscenses.
“I do understand that there’s a cost involved to this stuff, but stuff happens, especially in the summer time,” he said. “If there would be a way to recoup those costs other than a day of personal leave. That would probably be a very indirect way to recapture those lost costs.”
Another item discussed during Wednesday’s negotiations was the district’s health insurance program. Tate started the talk by saying some educators who have cut back their work load from full-time to part-time are still receiving full health benefits.
“The central office called that to her attention and said it’s really not fair to the people working full time to get a full benefit if you’re only working half time to get a full benefit,” he said, of one teacher. “The teacher said the contract does not say it’ll be adjusted pro rata whether you’re working full time or three-quarters time. We would like to add some language to the negotiated agreement. We think that would be fair to the people.”
Goodwin agreed saying part-time employees getting full benefits hurts the full-time employees.
Tate said the district currently has no authority from the USD 480 Board of Education regarding salaries for teachers. According to business and finance director Jerry Clay, the latest proposed legislation will cut state aid to schools about $132 per student, which equates to a loss of about $1 million for USD 480.
“The board doesn’t feel comfortable making any decision on that,” Tate said.
The two sides will meet again at 4:30 p.m. April 29 to continue negotiations.