Tuesday, October 5, 2010

NEA-T Approves Contract with Topeka Public Schools

NEA-Topeka ratified the 2010-2011 Professional Agreement with USD 501, Topeka Public Schools, yesterday, (Monday). There are 1301 teachers and certified staff covered by this agreement. The ratification vote was 60% yes; 40% no. The USD 501 School Board is expected to vote to approve the tentative agreement at their next meeting on October 7, 2010.

NEA-Topeka President Mary Masters said, “The vote for the ratification was much closer than in past years. Topics that had generated a lot of discussion throughout the District during the ratification process were related to health insurance, high school plan time, and professional employee evaluations.”

Larry Robbins, Executive Director of Operations and the school district’s chief negotiator said, “The leadership team is very pleased with the results. It was our goal to reach an agreement that provided a fair and equitable package for our certified employees and had provisions that would also enhance student achievement.”

Key changes to the Professional Agreement relate to Memorandums of Understanding for health insurance, high school plan time, and professional employee evaluations.

· Certified staff will receive step movement on the existing salary schedule which is equal to $500.00 per year. Individuals off the salary schedule will also receive $500.00

· Significant increases have occurred in the cost of the employee’s health insurance plan. With the ratification of the agreement, employees may choose to participate in a wellness program. In return for participation the District will bear the increased cost of the insurance for those individuals.

· With the ratification, a change in high school plan time will occur. The change involves a reallocation of the amount of time established for plan time to be divided into “personal plan time,” and “collaboration time.” “Collaboration time is non-instructional, non-plan time to be used . . . to generate creative solutions to mutually defined problems . . . by instructional partners.”

· During the 2010-2011 school year representatives from the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) team and the District’s Administrative Team will be working to “develop a teacher evaluation system that will include student achievement as a part of the evaluation process.” The system will be piloted at Highland Park High School as a requirement of the “transformation model” selected as part of the School Improvement Grant.