Having taught without a contract for more than a year, all but one member of the Carmel teachers union voted to reject the school district’s latest offer Monday.
The union and the school district are still negotiating terms for 2012-13 — yes, you read that right, this is about last year’s contract.
A factfinder, empowered by state law to impose a settlement, now has up to two weeks to decide whether teachers or school board members in the Carmel Clay Schools get their way. And in many ways, factfinding is a zero-sum game.
“The factfinder must select one party’s [final contract offer] as the binding contract terms,” a document from the Indiana Educator Employment Relations Board explains, adding he may limit the scope of his order to “those issues the factfinder deems significant.”
As we’ve reported, the school board wants to eliminate the district’s “salary schedule,” which gives teachers raises based on their years of experience and degrees earned, while hiking teacher pay by 2 percent.
But as the Indy Star reports, the Carmel teachers union says the district’s offer could hurt younger teachers’ pay over the long term:
Celestine Donnelly, 62, who has worked at Orchard Park Elementary for 14 years, said that while bus drivers and lunch staff have received raises, teachers have gone without them.
“I continue to make less money every year because we’ve gotten no raises and insurance goes up,” she said. “It’s demoralizing. Most teachers feel like we’re not being respected”…
Other issues that are preventing an agreement, according to the administration, include the union’s proposals to be paid by the minute and to convert unpaid leave into partially paid leave.
“While it is disappointing that we have not been able to reach an agreement,” [Carmel Clay Schools assistant superintendent Roger McMichael] wrote, “we remain very supportive of teachers.”