Tonight the United School Employees of Pasco (USEP) and District negotiation teams settled their contracts and reached tentative agreements for the current school year. The teams have met regularly since June of this year and are pleased to announce this settlement.
Actual language and summaries of the settlements will soon be placed on the USEP website: www.useponline.org.
The agreement continues to maintain a fully-board-paid employee health plan, an item that has been in danger in recent years.
This year’s settlement provides an average 3 percent raise for teachers and school related personnel (SRP), one of the highest settlements in the state. In addition, the district will provide an additional $1.2 million to cover health plan cost increases for the 2015 plan year.
Improvements include increased individual planning time for teachers, a revised teacher evaluation process that puts more emphasis on informal vs. formal observations, better compensation criteria for SRP who substitute for teachers, and increased compensation for SRP and teacher critical shortage areas.
The agreement also eliminates tobacco use at all District worksites by July 1, 2016, phases out the Early Retirement Benefit by June 30, 2018, and creates a Compensation Task Force to address to instructional procedural items and to address the “teacher paycheck” issue that had been a stumbling block to settlement. The SRP agreement also includes the re-establishment of the SRP Compensation Committee to continue to address critical shortage positions and salary equity among SRP.
“Although this is one of the best pay settlements in the state, I wish we could have settled sooner. But due to the many issues that were brought by the District, USEP needed to take the time to properly vet the language and process to ensure the contractual rights of all employees were protected” said Kenny Blankenship, President of USEP.
A general settlement explanation meeting open to all bargaining unit members will be held on Tuesday, January 13th. Following that meeting, Building Representatives will vote whether to recommend the settlements to the full bargaining unit. The ratification vote is scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th.