No deal: JCPS salary negotiations with teachers union hits stale - WDRB 41 Louisville News

No deal: JCPS salary negotiations with teachers union hits stalemate

Posted: Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With less than two days left before the first day of school, JCPS and its teachers union did not come to an agreement on salary negotiations during a meeting between the district and union leaders on Monday.

As a result, a mutually agreed upon third-party mediator will now be called in to help the two sides come to an agreement.

"Today, JCTA and the district met to continue negotiations," reads an email sent to JCTA members Monday afternoon. "The association presented the district with a proposal with meaningful movement towards a common way forward.  However, the district refused to discuss the association's proposal and indicated that mediation would be needed and were otherwise unwilling to provide additional movement towards common ground."

JCPS typically negotiates changes in wages with its unions every two years, usually in the summer months -- and typically, an agreement is reached before the first day of school. 

"This further undermines teacher morale and trust," said JCTA president Brent McKim. "It is unfortunate that the district broke off negotiations and called for mediation just at the beginning of the new academic year, when we should be focusing on the start of school."

The first day of school for JCPS students is Wednesday, but the district's 6,000 teachers reported back to their classrooms today.

According to the email, the most recent proposal included "completely unacceptable" terms such as: significant take backs on the use of sick leave and unpaid medical leave, a proposal to force all teachers to receive all of their summer checks at the same time thereby eliminating the option to be paid every two weeks in the summer and a salary proposal that would almost certainly be less than the rate of inflation."

"JCTA made it clear to the district that these proposals are objectionable and would further undermine trust and harm teacher morale," the email states.

A spokeswoman for JCPS did not immediately return a phone call for comment on the salary negotiations late Monday afternoon.

McKim said the union began recommending back in May that the two sides agree upon a mediator in case an agreement could not be reached.

"We have not needed a third-party mediator during negotiations for probably 20 years, so this is very disappointing," he said.

Despite repeated requests to Superintendent Donna Hargens and Chief Business Officer Tom Hudson, "JCPS has been so slow to respond that as of today, we still lack an agreed upon mediator."

JCTA has already sued JCPS for failing to provide step increases for educators that were promised in the JCBE-JCTA agreement.

Meanwhile, negotiations with the district's two other large unions -- Teamsters Local 783 and the Jefferson County Association of Educational Support Personnel, are also still ongoing. Together, those two unions represent more than 5,000 district employees.

It's been a turbulent year between JCPS and its employees over issues such as student behavior and discipline, as well as salaries, and the approval rating of Hargens has dropped significantly.

The results of the 2016 Comprehensive Survey, released in June, show a sharp drop in employees’ opinions of district leadership this year compared with previous years.

For example, 51 percent of “certified employees” such as teachers and principals said Hargens and her central-office staff “provide effective leadership for schools,” according to the survey.

That’s down from 75 percent last year and more than 80 percent from 2012 -- the year Hargens started -- through 2014.

And only 40 percent of teachers and principals said the district “manages funding in an efficient and responsible manner” – down from 58 percent in 2015 and from about 65 percent during the previous three years.

The annual survey – which JCPS calls a “critical” feedback tool – also shows similar declines on those two points among “classified staff” like bus drivers, teacher assistants, custodians and cafeteria workers.

Hargens released a statement Monday evening:

“The Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District values all of its employees and we’re proud to pay a competitive salary to recruit and retain the best and the brightest. During these contract negotiations, we’ve offered a fair and equitable proposal that responsibly manages the district’s resources while recognizing the dedication and expertise of our employees.

This offer included step increases and a salary increase, as well as several other supports to benefit our teachers, students and schools, including:

- A proposal to help subsidize National Board Certification;

- An incentive to recruit teachers from outside the district in high-need areas such as math, science, dual certification and priority schools;

- A wage increase for our lowest-paid employees so that all of our employees are paid an appropriate salary;

  - And an innovative plan to create a pool of up to $4 million for school supports that would be managed jointly by JCPS and JCTA.”

Related Stories:

Teachers protest JCPS meeting on salary negotiations

JCPS employees, parents slam district over recommended salary freeze

JCTA holds emergency meeting over recommended salary freeze

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.