CSSU Boards OK agreement

Boards that make up the Chittenden South Supervisory Union (CSSU) approved a Collective Bargaining agreement on Tuesday, Sept. 16, settling issues ranging from teachers’ salaries to professional contributions for health insurance.
The agreement was approved during last week’s CSSU School Boards’ meeting. With the exception of Charlotte, all Boards in CSSU unanimously approved the proposal. Charlotte’s School commissioners voted 4-1 to approve.
The Collective Bargaining agreement is in effect for contracts spanning 2014-17. The CSSU consists of five, separate communities that include Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston, and St. George. Each town has its own, individual K-eighth grade school except for St. George, which pays tuition for its students at other schools.
A Fact Finders’ Report was issued in June. According to the document, the CSSU sought a 2.85 percent increase in salaries for 2014 to 2015, a 3.03 percent jump for 2015 to 2016, and a 3.31 percent rise for 2016 to 2017. Boards countered with an offer of a 2 percent raise in new money for each year in a new, two-year agreement. Under the Collective Bargaining document, salaries will climb 3.25 percent annually in each year of the three-year pact.
That doesn’t equate to every CSSU teacher receiving an across-the-board 3.25 percent raise, according to CSSU officials. Charlotte Community School Board Chair Kristin Wright said so-called “senior” educators will receive a smaller bump in salary. She added that as teachers “go up the steps,” meaning that as they earn graduate degrees and increase in seniority, their rate of pay also jumps. Also, the 3.25 percent agreement affects teachers’ current rate of pay. There is no definitive starting salary for a new educator in the CSSU. Rate of pay varies with experience.
CSSU School Boards also pushed for a 2 percent increase in financial contributions for health insurance premiums, from 15 to 17 percent, starting July 2014. The CSSU argued against any such jump, and the Collective Bargaining agreement also supports no change.