The McKinleyville Union School District and McKinleyville Teachers Association gave their “last, best and final offers” to a mediator Thursday and are now on track to begin a fact-finding process in an effort to come to a contract agreement.
”There isn't another mediation session scheduled, and the next step is fact finding,” said district Superintendent Michael Davies-Hughes. “However, either side can communicate at any time that they want to come back to the table to make an agreement.”
The mediator will take the offers to the state Public Employees Relation Board, which will initiate the fact-finding process, according to Davies-Hughes. During the process, a three-member panel -- with a representative from the district and the teachers association, as well as a neutral party agreed on by both sides -- will issue a non-binding report with a list of recommendations.
The district announced its last offer Wednesday after holding a special meeting Tuesday night, according to teachers association President Mike Meng.
”The board adjourned and went into closed session for about two hours,” Meng said. “I went back when they came out of closed session, and was told there was no reportable action.”
Meng said the association was disheartened that a solution could not be reached during the last mediation session on March 28, adding that the prolonged negotiations are having an effect on the entire district.
”We would like to see a swift resolution to the situation,” Meng said.
Davies-Hughes said the district believes it has made a fair offer and is trying to make a conscious planning effort with the two-year agreement option.
”We have been hearing that the teachers deserve a raise, and I agree. They should get it,” Davies-Hughes said.
The district has proposed two final offers. The first is a one-year agreement that would include an ongoing 3 percent increase to the 2013-14 salary schedule that would be retroactive to July 31, 2013, and an increase in the number of discretionary days off from four to five per year.
The second offer is a two-year agreement that would include an ongoing 3 percent increase to the salary schedule retroactive to July 31, 2013, for 2013-14. For 2014-15, the offer includes a one-time 3 percent salary increase effective July 1, 2014, and a one-time $900 increase to the medical/dental/vision insurance cap, with provisions to make both ongoing depending on the budget.
Calls to the teachers association for details on its last offer were not returned by deadline.
Melissa Simon can be reached at 441-0508 or email@example.com.