Deadline fast approaches for Macomb school district contract negotiations

Macomb superintendent Patrick Twomey addresses contract negotiations

Time is running out for the Macomb school district and the Macomb Education Association to reach an agreement on stalled teacher contract negotiations.

There are several important issues that are still have to be addressed.

At a press conference on Wednesday school superintendent Patrick Twomey stated the districts position on the negotiations.

"Unless the MEA presents a new proposal by November 21, 2013 which narrows the differences between the parties, the Board of Education authorizes the Superintendent to declare on November 22, 2013 an impasse in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the Board and the MEA and to notify the necessary parties," Twomey said.

Twomey says because of the ongoing funding problems on the state level, the district is being forced to take a hard look at spending on all levels including employee compensation.

He says that the district would like to see some sort of cost sharing agreement on retirement and Individual health insurance.

Right now the district pays 100 percent of the costs for both of these.

Another big sticking point is an annual November stipend of one thousand dollars.

"And in the contract there is no task associated with that stipend," Superintendent Twomey said. "And in the business world that I came from, when an employee receives money in November and December with no task assigned to it, we refer to that as a Christmas bonus. And I just think, I question whether there's a place in a school contract for that type of stipend or bonus."

The district is already deficit spending from its education fund and wants to avoid being forced to do more according to school board member Jim LaPrad.

"I think they've tried to put together the best, reasonable, prudent package that they could for our teachers right now to help insure that our district is financially strong, or shouldn't even say strong ... healthy," LaPrad said. "Obviously not going into deficit spending of 1.5 million dollars in the next three years."

If a new agreement is not presented by the Thursday deadline, a new seven day window will be created where both parties must provide a last and final offer.

KHQA spoke with Dough Mattsey the spokesperson for the Macomb Education Association.

He says that it has heard nothing regarding cost sharing.

As for the stipend, Mattsey says it was negotiated as part of the regular salary, not as a bonus, at the suggestion of the school board in 2001.

Since it has not increased with other salary schedules, Mattsey estimates it has saved the district about a quarter of a million dollars since it was originally agreed upon.