CLAYSBURG — Claysburg-Kimmel’s school board approved a contract extension with the teachers union Wednesday, following negotiations that both sides said were smooth and amicable.
The board approved the agreement 7 to 0 with two members absent.
The current contract, which covers 60 teachers and a nurse, was to expire June 30, 2020. It was extended to June 30, 2023, after the union received a salary increase, a bump in the starting teacher salary, reimbursement for covering another classroom during a prep period and other contract changes.
Mike Hoenstine, president of the Claysburg-Kimmel Education Association, said the administration and school board team who negotiated the contract were easy to work with.
“The board was real cooperative, the administration, Michelle Smithmyer, the business manager … We didn’t have to get anyone involved like our (state education association) Uniserve representative,” Hoenstine said.
Hoenstine said the association got what it sought in the contract extension, “for the most part.
“We got a raise; they didn’t cut the health care, which was good.”
The terms include reimbursing a teacher when he or she gives up a preparation period to cover another classroom because of a lack of substitutes. Superintendent Darren McLaurin said that reimbursement is a normal practice in any school district.
Other changes include:
—Daily retirement increment pay for unused sick/personal days at a rate of $75 per day when the employee has up to 100 days left; $85 per day when there are 101 to 150 days unused; $100 per day when there are 151 to 200 days unused; and $125 per days when there are more than 201 days or more unused. The previous term said the rate was $75 per day no matter how many days were left unused.
—Salary increase of $1,750 per teacher per year for each year of the contract;
—One-time bonuses for length of service: $100 for those who achieve 10 years of service; $125 for 15 years of service; $150 for 20 years of service; $175 for 25 years of service; and $200 for 30 years.
—Starting teacher salaries increases $500 per year of the contract: $42,500 for 2020-21; $43,000 for 2021-22 and $43,500 for 2022-2023.
—Increase the heath care premium by the district by $1 per year.
—Allowing the association to decide whether a grievance should be referred to binding arbitration to resolve a grievance. Previously, the matter automatically went to binding arbitration.
McLaurin said the contract extension at this time was good for both sides who know now what their expenses and benefits will be.
The administration and board wanted a deal “as early as possible for our sakes so we know what kind of expenses we have in the next three years,” the superintendent said.
Board President Rich Gergely sad it was critical that the board get the deal done now.
“I think it’s a very good contract,” he said.
“It was a pretty easy contract,” McLaurin said. “We had good cooperation with the teachers.”
Hoenstine said about 56 of his members voted and only one voted no on the agreement ahead of the school board’s meeting.
“The board’s been very supportive of us,” the president said. “It’s nice the board supports you in what you do.”
In brief discussion about the progress of the work to possibly renovate the outdoor athletic facilities, board members Heidi Kennedy and Gergely asked whether the board could raise funds for the work by selling pieces of the concrete bleachers, much as people sometimes buy bricks from razed buildings.
Administrators said they would investigate that possibility.
Right now, McLaurin said, the district is still going through the permitting process for the work, a proposed $1.5 million, two-phase project that would replace the concrete bleachers, make the facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and construct larger press box, ticket booth, concession stand and fix the drainage in the first phase. The second phase would be centered around creating a new softball field, baseball field improvements and other changes to the fields.
McLaurin said the permitting process is expected to be completed at the end of November.