2010-10-07 / Front Page

SF Releases Support Staff Bargaining Pact

Agreement begins retroactive to July 1, 2009
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Members of the Southern Fulton School Board and the Southern Fulton Education Support Professionals Association, which acts as the bargaining agent for the district’s secretaries, cafeteria personnel, teacher aides and custodians, have finalized a four-year agreement following a prolonged period of ongoing negotiations.

The collective bargaining agreement will begin retroactive to July 1, 2009, and was officially approved by the school board last month on a 6-2-1 roll-call vote. Board members Patrick Bard and Danny Crouse voted against the contract that will conclude June 30, 2013. Allen Morton abstained from voting.

The “News” was able to obtain a copy of the official document on Monday from district Superintendent Kendra Trail.

The contract stipulates the support staff will be entitled to a range of benefits such as term-life insurance provided by the district in the amount of $30,000 per employee; a Preferred Provider health insurance program for medical coverage; an incentive prescription program; and dental and vision insurance.

According to the section of the document entitled “other employee benefits,” support staff employees will be required to contribute a monthly payment toward their health insurance premium, with cost hinging upon the type of coverage selected. No matter the coverage, however, monthly payments are slated to increase at the start of each new school year by $5. As a result, during the final year of the agreement (2012-13), individual coverage will have risen to a monthly payment of $25 in comparison to family coverage at $40.

In addition, employees receiving prescription drug benefits will pay 10 percent of their monthly premiums. The plan also outlines a $20 copay for normal or specialty office visits; $50 for emergency room visits; $5 copays for generic prescriptions and mail orders, $25 for brand name prescriptions; and $50 for nonformulary prescriptions.

The new collective bargaining agreement also outlines how much sick leave is granted in accordance with the number of months worked per year. For example, 12- month employees are entitled to 12 sick days; 11-month employees receive 11 sick days; 10-month employees get 10 sick days; and so on.

Furthermore, the contract stipulates all part-time employees working nine or more months per year are entitled to five sick days annually. In fact, all of criteria out- lined under the sick leave section are also applied to the district’s part-time support staff.

The district and bargaining unit also mutually agreed on a salary schedule where service increments are awarded to employees for every eight years of continuous service logged. At the start of the ninth year of service, support staff employees are eligible to receive a $200 service increment. An additional $200 is awarded on the 18th, 27th, and 35th years with the maximum amount ever to be awarded listed at $1,400.

Issues such as emergency leave, bereavement leave and tuition reimbursement are also covered in the contract in addition to hours of work. The contract states secretarial-clerical employees are required to complete an average minimum daily work period of seven hours and any afterschool or evening events they are requested to attend. Custodians are responsible to work 40 hours per week, including routine weekend checks of facilities. Custodial staff must also make themselves available for work during emergencies and inclement weather such as snow.

Cafeteria personnel, as set forth in the document, are designated 10-month employees and will be paid an average hourly rate at the equivalent of six hours per day for actual days worked.

As important as benefits, the contract also goes into detail regarding each bargaining unit employee receiving an hourly pay increase for each year of the four-year agreement. Retroactive to the 2009-10 school year, employees were slated to receive an increase of 45 cents per hour. Between 2010 and 2012, employees will receive a 50- cent-per-hour raise. The final year of the contract (2012-13) requires a 45 centper hour increase.

Annual stipends ranging from $500 to $2,475 have also been agreed upon for individuals performing duties as a maintenance assistant, assistant sewage treatment plant operator and assistant water and pesticide certificate holder.

Furthermore, support staff in each building achieving Adequate Yearly Progress in conjunction with No Child Left Behind will receive an individual $100 bonus for each earned year of the contract. In order to receive the bonus, the employee must have been a member of the building staff for the 45 days prior to PSSA testing. In the event an employee works at both buildings, they may receive $50 per building for a total of $100.

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