Pasco employees, district reach tentative settlement on pay, benefits, furloughs
After weeks of back and forth, the United School Employees of Pasco and the School Board have reached a tentative deal on pay and benefits.
The agreement, reached late Thursday, provides no raises for a fourth straight year. Employees would continue to make the same salary they earned last year.
The district would cover full health insurance costs for every employee, including an expected 3 percent premium increase.
And the sides compromised on mandatory unpaid leaves of absence. The board initially called for three days for every employee who works less than 12 months. The union countered with one day, which it insisted be a regular class day.
The district came back with this offer: "All teachers shall be furloughed two days during the 2011-12 school year. One of these days shall be a student contact day, and the exact dates of both furlough days shall be mutually agreed upon by the board and the union by Sept. 2, 2011." Payroll deductions would begin immediately, and if any money remains at the end of the year, it could not be carried over to cover next year's shortfalls.
"No one is happy about this settlement, but USEP is proud to be one of the few counties left to fully fund employee health plans and has fought staunchly against losing planning time for additional teaching periods," USEP president Lynne Webb said in an e-mail statement. "The sad fact is that if the legislators had fulfilled their Constitutional responsibility to adequately fund education and if voters had passed the quarter mil last November, furloughs wouldn’t have even been on the table."
The sides still must negotiate teacher evaluations and other aspects arising from Senate Bill 736. Members and the board would have to ratify all agreements at the end of bargaining.