Negotiations Team Trying to Reach Middle Ground with BB School Board

BROKEN BOW—An earlier than normal work session was held to focus on teacher negotiations and strategic plan goal setting. Beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, the Broken Bow School Board opened the work session and proceeded into closed session for about 45 minutes.

Upon returning to the media center, the board members presented the previously discussed board proposals of base salary pay (in accordance with the average array in a multi-school comparison) and sick day payout.

“The consensus that we came to is we would make the proposal of no increase to the base but you can keep the 75 days at $100 per day,” Board president Carl French said.

Kurt Altig with the Broken Bow Education Association (BBEA) Negotiations Committee expressed concerns that by freezing the base, the district would be less than 100% of the array. Altig also said he could not report back to the people he represents that they would not be seeing an increase to their salaries.

French reiterated that the board has already discussed likely scenarios and does not want to increase the base pay to match 100% of the array, despite Altig’s request on behalf of the teaching staff.

“I guess to answer your question, no we’re not agreeing to be at 100% for ’18-’19,” French said.

The BBEA left the room to chat and returned asking for a $250 increase to the base. The BBEA said the process “hasn’t been much of a negotiation.”

After much back and forth discussion, the school board said the base for the last few years has been above 100% of the average and now they are trying to make up for it by freezing the base.

“We probably screwed up for a couple years in a row and offered considerably more than 100% and now we’re asking for a small catch-up time,” School Board member J.B. Atkins said.

Altig said previous years have usually not been considered during negotiations.

“For the last four years we’ve just taken the average–maybe even five years–we’ve just taken the average of the array. That’s just what we’ve done. We have never dug this deep into comp studies and figuring out what everybody else, you know, where they were and we just went off an average,” Altig said. “I guess I’m just looking for a way to negotiate so that both sides can be happy.”

Just before 6 p.m. the board voted to return to closed session but “nothing changed” according to French because they are taking into account the budget for next year.

The stalemate continued but Altig reiterated that the committee is willing to be accommodating and make adjustments year to year by finding middle ground in a salary increase. However, the board remained firm on freezing the base salary for at least the 2018-2019 school year.

The discussion wrapped up just before 6:30 p.m. with no consensus reached. The board and the BBEA have until Thursday to reach an agreement for teacher negotiations.