Triplicate

The Del Norte Unified School District and the Del Norte Teachers Association met Jan. 29 to continue contract negotiations. At the end of the session, no tentative agreement was reached.

Coleen Parker, district Human Resources Director, said the district team presented a new proposal to the DNTA bargaining team, which she said was in direct alignment with the fact-finding recommendations for the multi-year agreement.

Neither DNTA President Marshal Jones nor DNTA lead negotiator Paige Thompson returned calls for comment before The Triplicate’s publication deadline.

The offer guarantees three 2% salary increases, effective July 1, 2019, 2020 and 2021. An additional 0.5% salary increase if “local control funding formula” revenue increases by 3.5% or more from the prior year, in 2020-21 and 2021-22. That increases to 1% if the revenue formula increases by 4% or more.

For school districts and charter schools, the local control funding formula establishes uniform grade span grants, including revenue limits, general-purpose block grants and most state categorical programs.

In addition to increasing salary, the district’s proposal would also increase flat-dollar stipends by 2% each year of the contract and add a $500 increase to the annual district contribution to the union’s Health Insurance Premium costs.

In a joint communique to all district certificated staff, district officials said the DNTA found the proposal unacceptable as it did not grant an adequate increase in salary for the 2019-20 school year.

“In addition, the DNTA is not interested in a multi-year agreement given the uncertainty about increases in health and welfare costs going forward,” the district’s message stated.

Parker told The Triplicate the DNTA did not provide a counter offer.

“They appear to have stopped showing interest in negotiating for 2020,” Parker said.

She added the school district still does not plan to implement a “last, best and final offer.”

“Typically, you don’t ‘impose’ a raise, only when you’re losing staff, or making cuts,” Parker said.

Parker added the School Board still desires to reach an agreement for 2020, pointing to its commitment to a raise.

“The initial 1% raise would have added $180,00 overall. The multi-year offer now would have been $2 million. It shows the board values teachers. But apparently, it’s unacceptable to the DNTA. Where we go from here? They need to come back to the table. They have the ability to counter, but have not yet.”

Parker said the DNTA cannot strike now until the end of its term of the contract in August of 2020.

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