Pasco teacher contract negotiations yet to begin
As soon as the United School Employees of Pasco ratified their 2012-13 contract in early April, superintendent Kurt Browning announced his hope to get the next year's contract done before teachers leave for summer on June 6.
That's not happening. Talks have yet to begin beyond some early logistics. And Browning wants it known that he isn't causing the holdup.
"I've been pushing to meet earlier than later," Browning told the Gradebook. "My desire is to get teacher raises out as quickly as possible. We're ready. We're waiting on the USEP."
USEP business representative Jim Ciadella, who negotiates the teacher contract for the group, said his team is anxious to get to the table, too.
"But we want to make sure we understand all the budgetary issues before we get there," Ciadella told the Gradebook.
Specifically, he said, the union wants more clarity from the state over exactly how the raise money added to the state budget can be used. Browning told employees in an email that his staff was looking at ways to get set amounts to teachers who are eligible based on their evaluation outcomes. The governor's office recently sent out guidance stating that districts may collaborate with unions to decide how to allocate the money, and that there are no set amounts for individuals based on evaluations.
"We're not looking to delay the process," Ciadella said. "But we are also not looking to prematurely jump the gun."
Browning said he thinks the timing is right already.
"We have budget numbers. We know what the budget looks like," he said. "We need to start talking about how we will divvy up that $11.7 million."
Ciadella said USEP's goal is to have a settlement in place before teachers return to work in mid-August. He cautioned that it might not happen, though.
For now, the two sides are set to sit down for talks on June 24. Stay tuned.