High School Announcements -
High School Food Drive -
Over 500 can goods were collected and taken to the Mt. Olive Care center for the High School Thanksgiving food drive. Good Job High School Students.
High School Final Exam Schedule -
Happenings this week. -
Monday: Girls Basketball at Bunker Hill 6:00
Tuesday Boys Basketball at Litchfield 6:00
Wrestling home 6:16
Thursday Girls Basketball Nokomis 6:00
Friday: Boys Basketball Home 6:15
Saturday: Wrestling at Carrollton 10:00
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Fiscal Discipline -
The Board of Education Must Stand for Fiscal Discipline Now to Preserve Our Schools for Later
November 22, 2013
The Mt. Olive Community Unit School District Board of Education is committed to keeping the school district financially solvent during these tough economic times that the United States, as well as the State of Illinois, are currently going through. The board believes that our school district is a vital part of this community and will do everything in its power to keep the school district alive.
Collective bargaining with the teachers’ union has been very difficult this year because the board is not willing to jeopardize our districts future to meet the financial demands that the teachers union is making. The Board does not question that Mt. Olive School District has an outstanding staff and are very proud of our student’s accomplishments on state achievement tests. However, with expenses of well over 90% of the District’s Education Fund in 2012-2013 already dedicated to salaries and benefits of employees, this is just a financial matter.
As a result of the tough economic times, both locally and state-wide, as well as declining enrollment in the District, total revenue for the district has gone down 20% over the past three years:
July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011 $5,960,044
July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012 $5,200,640
July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013 $4,792,590
This is the broad view of the District’s situation as it attempts to work through a difficult negotiation for a new collective bargaining agreement with its teachers’ union, the Mount Olive Education Association. The District must balance its desire to fairly compensate its professional and dedicated teachers against financial realities. The Union’s proposal, however, is a “business-as-usual approach” that fails to acknowledge the reality of our District and state-level financial difficulties and precipitous revenue drop. Despite the challenging financial climate, the District believes its final offer to the Union is generous and would fairly compensate the teachers for their outstanding work.
The District’s final offer that was given to the teachers’ union (and rejected by them), turned in to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, and filed with the federal mediator on November 15, 2013 is as described below.
Explanation of District’s Final Offer
Teacher Salary Increases
On the subject of salary increases, there are two components:
First, the District’s final offer includes both vertical movement for experience (i.e., “step”) and horizontal movement (i.e., “lane”) for increased educational attainment. The District proposal would pay for all teachers “step” and “lane” salary increases during the 2013-2014 school year. The District’s final proposal to pay the cost to advance each teacher on the salary schedule vertically or horizontally amounts to an additional cost in “new money” of $47,353.80 to the District, for these 25 teaching employees who are eligible for step and/or lane increases in 2013-14.
To put this simply under the District’s final offer, those 25 teachers would receive $47,343.80 more money than they did last year just on this portion of the Board’s final offer. Some examples of this would be:
• Mr. C. received his Masters Degree during the 2012-2013 school year which moved him from Bachelors Degree and three years of service to Masters degree and four years of service on the pay scale.
• Mr. C’s base salary for 2012-2013 was $34,210.72
• Mr. C’s base salary for 2013-2014 would be $40,457.35
• Mr. C’s raise for step and lane movement before the 2% increase proposed by the board is $6,246.63.
• Mrs. B is moving from Masters Degree and 14 years of service to Masters Degree and 15 years of service on the pay scale.
Mrs. B’s base salary for 2012-2013 was $52,356.73
Mrs. B’s base salary for 2013-2014 would be $56,522.06
Mrs. B’s raise for step and lane movement before the 2% increase proposed by the
Board is $4,165.33.
Second, in addition to the above step and lane salary increases, the District’s final offer also includes an additional 2% across-the-board increase on the current salary schedule for the 2013-2014 school year, for all teachers. The District’s proposal would increase the salary for all teachers by a minimum of 2%, on top of the step and lane increases discussed above. The District’s final proposal to pay an additional 2% across the board salary increase amounts to an additional cost in “new money” of $39,529.10 to the District, for the 39 teaching employees employed in the current 2013-14 school year. Again, put simply, this means that all 39 teachers will share an additional increase of $39,529.10 paid to them by the Board in 2013-2014.
Taking into account the step and lane increases for additional experience and education, the additional 2% across-the-board increase for 2013-2014, and the 2% annual increases for teachers in their last four (4) years – described below – the District’s final offer would provide the District’s teachers with an average raise of approximately 4.24% in the 2013-2014 school year.
Other Teacher Benefits Under the District’s Final Offer
With respect to insurance costs, the District proposes to pay, on behalf of each employee, up to $475 per month toward insurance premiums, which is up to $5,700 per year per teacher. The current insurance cost is only $456.60 per month on behalf of each employee, for a total of $5,479.20 per teacher per year toward board-paid insurance premiums. As stated in Section 5.6 of the Parties’ recently expired Agreement, the District and the MOEA work together to determine insurance coverage and costs for the District’s teachers. The District’s rationale in proposing to pay up to $475 per month toward teachers’ insurance premiums is to ensure that teachers continue to have some shared “ownership” in the issue of their insurance costs, and to provide a mutual guaranteed incentive for both parties to work together to keep insurance costs reasonable.
With respect to retirement incentive, the District’s final proposal provides for a guarantee of annual pay increases of at least 2% per year, for teachers who are in their last four (4) years prior to retirement, even if these teachers have already reached the maximum “step” on the schedule.
In contrast to the District’s offer, the Union is asking for a 6% per year salary increase for teachers who are in their last four (4) years prior to retirement. These raises would be compounded annually, and as a result the approximate cost to the District if only four teachers signed up for this is $144,000 of new money over the next 4 years! Additionally, if the District were to award 6% raises to teachers approaching retirement, during the 2015-2016 school year it would have at least one teacher making in excess of $91,800 and another earning more than $85,000!
Finally, for the future of the District, the Board is also asking for a new pay scale for future employees hired after November 1, 2013. This pay scale would have the same beginning pay and largest pay as the current pay scale the teachers now have. Contrary to the Union’s claims that the new scale would make teachers on it into “second class,” the only difference is that an employee’s pay raises on the new scale are more even, without having large increases for advancing a single year on the pay scale (as in the example of Teacher B above). The only difference is the board is asking that the steps for the new scale be equal steps for the 20 years that are on the scale. When this scale is adopted, future employees would not have huge salary increases simply for advancing one year of experience on the pay scale and lower raises the next (as in the example of Mrs. B above). Instead, the raises every year will be more gradual and predictable for the District and the employee.
The Board of Education is committed to keeping the District financially solvent during these tough economic times, and for myriad reasons cannot in good conscience accept the proposal that the Union has made.
For more information about the final offers of the Union and the District, I encourage you to visit the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board’s web, which posts the parties’ offers under the “Impasse Final Offers” section of its web site available at http://www2.illinois.gov/elrb. In addition, the District’s final offer is available on its web site at http://www.mtoliveschools.org/.
Additional Context for final offer, cost summary, and comparison to most recent settlements
The District’s final offer is more favorable than all three (3) of the most recent settlements in this district, as shown below. The amounts indicate the “new money” spent by the District in each of the prior years for annual step and lane increases, the 6% increase for retiring teachers, and the one-time bonus in 2012-13 for teachers who did not receive a step or lane increase:
2010-11 final settlement terms (Step and TRS Increase)
Step and Lane: $22,579.95
6 teachers at 6%: $23,910.72
Total: $46,490.67 (2.76% increase)
2011-12 final settlement terms (Step and TRS Increase)
Step and Lane: $36,057.72
4 teachers at 6%: $16,385.28
Total: $52,443.28 (2.79% increase)
2012-13 final settlement terms (Step and TRS Increase)
Step and Lane: $44,272.15
2 teachers at 6%: $7,115.27
11 teachers at $1,000: $12,141.28
Total: $63,528.70 (3.16% increase)
Compare current 2013-14 final offer by District: (District Proposal for Step and TRS Increase)
Step and Lane: $47,353.80
2% across-the-board: $39.529.10
Total: $86,882.90 (4.24% increase)
The Board of Education has been put in a difficult situation with the economic crisis that the government has been in for the past few years. With revenues going down, and large raise requests that will raise expenses, the board feels that a 4.24% increase for this year is more than fair.
Mt. Olive Superintendent
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