JCPS teachers approve 2-year salary agreement between union, dis - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS teachers approve 2-year salary agreement between union, district

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Jefferson County Public Schools teachers have approved the two-year salary agreement reached between the district and their union, according to votes tallied by the Jefferson County Teachers Association on Wednesday night.

Brent McKim, president of JCTA, says the union received 954 ballots from its 5,900 members. Of that number, 861 were in favor of the contract, while 93 opposed it.

Now that it has been ratified by the majority of JCTA members who turned in their ballots, it is expected that the agreement will go to the Jefferson County Board of Education for approval at the end of the month.

"We fully anticipate that the school board will ratify this agreement as well," McKim said Wednesday.

McKim called the low participation rate "disappointing, but not surprising based on the ballots we have received in previous contract ratification votes."

However, several teachers say they never received their ballots and are questioning the entire process.

"The ballots were not delivered to everyone who requested them," said Tim Burri, a JCPS elementary school teacher. "This is a total mess, there are many votes that were not accounted for. I'm not sure how anyone could count this very important vote as valid."

JCPS teachers had until Sept. 9 to decide whether they were in support of the two-year salary agreement, which was reached between the district and JCTA on Aug. 18.

McKim confirms there were a number of members who indicated they did not receive their ballots, but that the union worked to get ballots to those members.

"We sent out an all-member email to everyone, asking them to let us know if they did not receive their ballot and that we would deliver it to them at their school," McKim said. "We also put the word out on social media and asked our building representatives to communicate this with their colleagues."

Still, Hartstern Elementary School teacher Tammy Crowder said "several people did not get ballots at my school and I did not get the mass emails they said they sent out."

McKim said JCTA issues ballots through the mail because that is the procedure stipulated in the union's constitution.

"We've never had a problem before now," he said. "We always have some people who don't receive their ballots, but it does appear to me more this time around."

McKim added that because of the problems they've had this year and also because of the expense of sending the mailers out and paying for the return postage on the ballots, the union's Constitution Revision Committee will meet next month to "discuss changing the voting process for ratification ballots in our constitution."

"This may include shifting to an electronic voting process," he said.

Only teachers who are members of JCTA were able to vote on the proposed agreement by either stating they were in favor of it, or that they were not in favor of it. There are about 300 teachers in JCPS who are not part of JCTA.

Under the two-year agreement, teachers would continue receiving their experience-based step raises on top of a 2.25 percent raise over the next two years. The salary and step increases would be retroactive to July 1, 2016.

The agreement between the two sides came after months of negotiations and tension between the two groups and would give teachers a .75 percent raise this year and a 1.5 percent raise in 2017-18.

It also includes several other provisions, including changes to the district's transfer policy and a 60 percent reimbursement for teachers to cover the cost of seeking National Board Certification as long as they agree to teach in JCPS for four years and changes to the district's transfer policy.

To see the full details of the negotiated agreement, click here.

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