Wage increase comes without union approval
By Jacob Mathias
After years of stalled negotiations since Act 10, the Stevens Point Public School Board has unanimously approved a 1.5 percent base wage increase at a special board meeting on May 21.
The raise was approved despite a formal impasse having been declared by the Stevens Point Area Education Association. The wage increase applies retroactively to the 2012-13 school year beginning July 1, 2012.
“It has been a board priority since I’ve been on the board to work as diligently as we can to settle the outstanding contracts and to provide the staff with the back pay that they are due,” said School Board President Meg Erler. “I think this a positive move forward.”
The school district presented its final offer to the SPAEA on May 6 but was turned down by the union. On May 19 a letter was sent to Florence Haley from the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s Region 2 Director Josh Skubal, declaring the impasse.
“Teachers shared that they felt the board’s refusal to even discuss, among its ranks, how it intends to handle future discussions indicates a lack of sincerity in the process and/or a desire to take serious and address the concerns raised by the teaching faculty during this round of discussions,” writes Skubal. “As a result, the body instructed the SPAEA team to notify the district that under its unilateral insistence to move its offer forward with no other discussion, an impasse on the 2012/13 year has been reached to the disappointment of all in the room.”
The school district and SPAEA are next entering preliminary negotiations for the 2013-14 school year.
No union representation nor members of the public were in attendance of Thursday’s meeting.
The next regular school board meeting is June 8 at 6:30 PM at the Bliss Educational Services Center.