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MMC District, Teachers Association go to mediation

Monday, March 28, 2011

MARCUS - Negotiations between the The Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School District and the MMC Teachers Association for the 2011-2012 labor contract is going to mediation after the two groups were unable to reach agreement during recent collective bargaining procedures.

According to MMC Superintendent Jan Brandhorst, the MMCTA is asking for a 9.14-percent increase in wages and benefits for another one-year contract, and the District is proposing an extension of the existing contract for a two-year period and no other changes.

Brandhorst said the Teachers Association is seeking a $675 hike in base pay, $1,060 in an advanced step scale, and a 25-percent increase in insurance benefits.

"The money is just not there," said Brandhorst. "You just can't deficit spend every year. You're not going to last long. Like many Districts, our enrollment is down, State dollars are down, and the prediction is zero Allowable Growth, or at the most, 2-percent Allowable Growth funding. The money is just not there."

Brandhorst said when contract negotiations were started, the predicted insurance premium increase was not known. It has since come in at a 5.9-percent hike.

In addition, teachers will receive a State mandated .86-percent increase in IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System), according to the MMC Superintendent.

Brandhorst explained that a third party mediator will now be assigned by the State to bring the two groups together to further negotiate and, hopefully, "move the two parties to the center." If that fails, then the parties would move into binding arbitration.

Brandhorst said the mediation will occur sometime in April. The collective bargaining contract is to be settled by May 31.

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