Sweetwater County School District #1 Board of Trustees and the Sweetwater Education Association conducted certified teacher negotiations for the 2017-2018 school year the evening of Thursday, April 27, 2017. A tentative agreement was reached by both parties during the course of the meeting.
Negotiating Trustees included Lenny Hay, Neil Kourbelas, and Emma Waldner and SEA negotiators included Mark Chollak, Jacob Summers, and Karen Carter. Following ratification from SEA membership, the Board of Trustees approved the agreement for the 2017-2018 school year at the May 8, 2017 meeting.
Highlights for certified teachers include changes to health insurance plans, maintaining current salaries, and small revisions to negotiated policies.
The long-established $400 PPO Plan (known as the Grandfather Plan) for Active Employees and Pre-65 Retirees will be eliminated effective September 1, 2017. For Post-65 retirees as of August 31, 2017, the $400 PPO Grandfather Plan will be eliminated effective September 1, 2018. This would allow Post-65 retirees the opportunity for Medicare open enrollment which occurs October through December.
Policy updates included payroll procedures, health care benefits for retirees, and electronic submission of staff leave requests. For payroll updates, beginning with the first contract day and ending on the last contract day monthly payroll dates for certified personnel are set on the 5th and 20th of each month during the school year. If the 5th or 20th falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, the payroll date will be Friday or the day preceding the weekend or bank holiday. Any remaining contract will be paid by the last calendar day of the school year. As for retiree health care benefits, premiums for retirees will be calculated based on the eligibility of each individual or dependent separately.
Salary changes for the 2017-2018 will honor the education steps on the Certified Employee Salary Schedule (horizontal moves), but experience steps will be maintained at their current salaries and not granted additional years of experience/steps. Similarly, extra-duty salaries will be frozen at their current schedule and not granted additional years of experience/steps for the 2017-2018 school year.
The District held two informational meetings previously for employees and retirees surrounding health care benefits. Information for a third meeting for Post-65 Retirees is scheduled as follows:
2018-2019 Post-65 Retiree Health Insurance Informational Meeting
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Rock Springs Junior High Auditorium
Sweetwater County School District #1 was facing a $6.1 million deficit for the 2017-2018 school year. District staff, a Cost Savings Task Force, and several community forums contributed to the communication process prior to the negotiating committees meeting. Members from both parties commented on the positivity of the negotiating process and the collaborative effort demonstrated to embrace the financial restraints impacting the budget.