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School board to consider one-time payment for support personnel

January 17, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

Washington County Educational Support Personnel could get a one-time payment of 1 percent of their base pay if the Board of Education approves a memorandum of understanding with the union during Tuesday’s meeting, School Board President Wayne Ridenour said Monday.

The school board and union have been at an impasse in negotiations regarding raises union members were due this fiscal year. State Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick declared negotiations between the two sides to be at an impasse in June 2010.

An impasse panel heard arguments from both sides last fall and issued a report to the board in December.

The current contract with the union calls for its members to get a 3 percent raise plus a step increase, if applicable, this fiscal year.

Officials have said the school system doesn’t have the money for the raises.

The one-time payment would not result in layoffs because federal stimulus money would be used to fund the payment, Ridenour said.

Ridenour said Monday he did not know how much the one-time payment would cost because he did not have the information in front of him.

The support personnel union has about 500 members, but the union bargains on behalf of approximately 1,100 support personnel, all of whom would be affected by the settlement, said T. Scott Miller, chief negotiator for the support personnel union.

“I think it’s a good settlement. It takes into account the sensitivity to the current economic climate and reflects the fact that we had a contractual agreement for 3 percent (pay increase),” Miller said.

The proposed settlement balances those two factors equitably and fairly, Miller said.

Miller said the union ratified the proposed settlement with a vote Jan. 8.

If the board approves the settlement, the payment would be disbursed to employees after the school system receives its second installment of federal stimulus money from the Education Jobs Fund Program, Ridenour said.

The first installment of the stimulus money went toward a settlement with the Washington County Teachers Association, whose members received a one-time $500 stipend in December. The school board also had been at an impasse with that union since June.

The contract with the teachers’ union is in effect until June 30, which is the end of this fiscal year.

The contract with the support personnel union is effective through June 30, 2012, according to the contract. Under the wages and compensation section, the contract calls for pay to be negotiated for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The school board’s business meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Central Office off Commonwealth Avenue.

The support personnel union includes cafeteria, transportation, food service, custodial, maintenance and secretarial workers, as well as instructional assistants, Miller said.

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