Your REA co-chairs met with the district this week to analyze the ongoing financial understanding between REA and the district in costing our proposals. We have worked with the CFO to make sure we are using the same information. For example we now know the number of teachers being paid out of the general fund. We know the amount of money not being used in the insurance pool. Just to reassure everyone, when we discuss lowering the amount in the pool this will not cause people to have to pay out of pocket. We have money left over every year and would rather use that money to help with pay than to allow the district to keep it.
Unfortunately, we continue to disagree on the way that steps are being calculated. Additionally, we have been told that the school board is very comfortable with the last offer they gave us. We were informed that they think this will use up the excess money that the district has been saving year after year. We disagree with that thinking and the math they’re using to come to that conclusion. We have seen the district over-budget by millions each year but they still can’t see that.
We are also concerned about the district team’s ability to move on financial offers. They talk to the board about the offers but it seems like they can only do that at designated meetings and not during caucus time. We are concerned that the board is not available enough during bargaining.
The REA team will be working to make strategic moves to our financial offer to move this to a settlement. These strategies could include moving money from the insurance pool (again, no one would be harmed), changing the starting date for when COLA raises are activated, looking at other sources of revenue (where has the district historically over-budgeted) etc.
Please be prepared for additional asks from your bargaining team. We are only as strong as we are in solidarity. We may be asking you to take actions to make the board uncomfortable with their offer. If so, we will need you to join us to get this agreement settled.
Thanks again for your support,
Your bargaining team
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