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Dover Post
  • Capital school board inks labor deals with teachers, custodians

  • Teachers, custodians and maintenance workers in the Capital School District will receive raises under new labor agreements approved by the Capital school board this week.
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  • Teachers, custodians and maintenance workers in the Capital School District will receive raises under new labor agreements approved by the Capital school board this week.
    The district’s 575 teachers will receive a 2-percent across-the-board pay increase on the locally-funded portion of their salaries this year and a 1-percent raise next year, according to the two-year contract the district negotiated with the Capital Educators Association. This year’s raises will cost the district an additional $256,757 and the FY 16 raise compounded with the previous raise will cost the district an additional $138,638, according to Sean Sokolowski, Capitol’s business manager.
    The pay increases included in the contract are paid only on the local portion of teachers’ salaries, which covers about 30 percent of their pay. The remaining 70 percent is paid by the state and determined through the Delaware General Assembly’s annual budget process.
    Those raises do not include pay increases that are determined by years of employment and other factors.
    The teachers union’s new labor deal also provides local educators with time for professional learning communities (PLC). The Delaware Department of Education has mandated that teachers must meet with administrators for 90-minute PLCs once a week.
    The union reportedly did want that time to be taken away from teachers’ planning periods. The district compromised by offering teachers extra time at the end of each marking period, said Dave Vaughn, the district’s director of human resources.
    Other changes negotiated in the contract include how the district determines whether teachers will be called in during inclement weather days, insurance coverage for short-term disability and workman’s compensation, according to union president Lisa Whiteman.
    “I don’t think we had to give up anything that was truly important,” she said. “I really feel like we have a good working relationship with the district and with the administration.”
    The school board on Wednesday also approved a new three-year deal the Capital Support Association, which represents 82 maintenance workers and custodians.
    That deal provides those employees with a 2-percent raise in this year, a 2-percent raise next year and no additional pay increase in the third year. Those raises are expected to cost the district an additional $30,092 over the three-year contract, Sokolowski said.
    No other significant changes were made in the new contract, according to union president Mike Vivins.
    “Nowadays, we sit down and go for a little bit of a raise with cost of living going up,” he said. “We look at that, but with everything else our language has always been good and the district is fair when it comes to negotiations. It’s a pretty good deal.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Kay Dietz Sass, John C. Martin Jr and Sean Christiansen voted in favor of approving the new labor deal with the teachers union, while Matthew Lindell recused himself and Brian Lewis abstained.
    Lewis also abstained from voting on the custodian’s agreement, while all other school board members voted to approve it.
    Lewis said he chose not to vote because he did not receive information about the agreements until a week prior to the board meetings.
    “I’m just a blue collar worker [and] I don’t have a financial background or anything,” he said. “They expect me to go through all this material and we’re voting on a lot of money here with these contracts.”
    Two additional labor agreements with unions that represent district employees have yet to be voted on.
    A proposed contract with the Capital Paraprofessionals Association has been negotiated, but must be approved by the union’s membership before it can be brought before the board.
    The district is expected to begin negotiations with the Capital Education Secretaries Association at the end of the month.

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