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Cherokee School District presents labor contract to CEA

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Total package equates to 2.96-percent

The Cherokee School Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom presented the District's proposed 2012-13 labor contract offer to the Cherokee Education Association (CEA) Monday night.

The District is proposing a total package increase of 2.96-percent, which includes covering the anticipated 10 percent hike in insurance premiums, $50 added to base pay, $10 per year salary hike added to the vertical step process, covering the mandatory increase in IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System), and a 1-percent pay hike for freshman athletic coaches.

On Jan. 16, the CEA initially proposed salary and benefits increases totaling 4.99- percent, which amounts to an estimated $250,000, according to Chalstrom. The total package contract includes salary, health insurance, and IPERS costs.

The CEA Representatives include Tim Stoneking, James DeVos, and Amy Sarchet.

The proposed CEA contract would move the current base pay of $30,300 to a proposed $31,200, and the supplemental base from the current $29,700 to a proposed $31,200.

After the CEA presented its proposal for the next Fiscal Year and representatives explained various items included in the proposed one-year contract, Chalstrom responded by saying that the District faces an estimated $187,000 shortfall in State funding next year due to declining enrollment, and adding that total to the CEA's proposed $250,000 would total an estimated $487,000 extra to be covered in the 2012-13 budget.

Chalstrom maintains that an estimated $50,000 per position (salary and benefits) would mean the District would have to cut about eight certified positions to compensate for the proposed $487,000 budget increase, all things staying equal.

The two bodies will now take the proposals under advisement with negotiations on-going after that.

Beyond a few changes in contract language, among the other minor changes in the CEA proposal are a 1-percent increase in 9th grade coaching positions for football, basketball, baseball, softball, and volleyball.

Insurance costs have become a major portion of the District's cost for the bargaining unit. However, the cost of insurance premiums for next year are as yet unknown and once the actual rates are known, a total package calculation can then be made. Chalstrom said the District anticipates about a 10-percent increase.

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