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Proposed Contract for Grosse Pointe Teachers Draws Heavy Criticism

Teachers from Grosse Pointe Public School district are scheduled to meet today at Grosse Pointe North High School for a question and answer session regarding a proposed contract, which calls for changes some teachers say are extreme.

After receiving a copy of the proposed contract last week along with a presentation about the highlights, Grosse Pointe Public School district teachers are invited to a question and answer session Monday.

Teachers are to vote on the proposed contract March 18. If it is approved, it will take effect March 25.

Negotiations have been going on behind the scenes between district officials and union representatives. This is the first negotiation of the contract that first linked the teachers pay to the district's fund equity balance to ensure it did not dip below a certain level.

The teachers agreed to that contract, considered a ground-breaking contract in the education world, in part because they never believed it would actually come in to play, former Grosse Pointe Education Association President Ranae Beyerlein previously told Patch. She was the president during the negotiation of that contract.

Essentially, if the district's fund equity dips below 10 percent, teachers and other unionized employees agreed to help make up the difference to maintain that balance.

Under the proposed contract, a modified formula would be applied to ease the impact upon teachers while still eventually increasing the fund equity.

Pay for the teachers has already been cut in addition to increased healthcare costs and the proposed contract outlined last week with a Power Point presentation shows more cuts are ahead.

The proposed contract is drawing strong criticism from many teachers. A new Facebook page started in November--right around the time the pay cuts took effect--called I Support Grosse Pointe Teachers 2012-2013, lists many concerns. The page specifically says it is not associated with the GPEA.

Additionally, individual teachers have been posting on Facebook and other social media sites about their dissatisfaction with the negotiations.

The following are some of the changes in the proposed contract from the current contract:

  • Sick time has been eliminated and teachers will each receive an "individual leave bank" of 10 days when they receive their normal rate of pay; those vested, or with the district for four years or longer, will be alotted 12 days for the next two school years and then be reduced to 10 for the remainder of the contract
  • After the "individual leave bank" has been exhausted, teachers will be alotted an "individual roll bank" from which they can use days if necessary with a documented illness; use of these days require teachers to pay $120 per day of absence to reimburse the district for the cost of a substitute teacher regardless of whether a substitute is actually hired
  • The use time from the individual leave and roll banks may not exceed 29 days.
  • A "Community Roll Bank" will be established and managed by two administrators and three teachers appointed by the GPEA that would allow teachers to pull days from it once they've exhausted the first two banks
  • Short Term Disability will be available after 30 days
  • Personal days, which will be reduced to two from three with documentation required to be submitted to the Human Resources Department for prior approval with the exception of emergencies
  • Grievance timelines will be reduced from 60 to 30 days following a decision by the superintendent
  • Pay schedules/raises will be changed so that a teacher may only move up a 'step' the following school year if they receive an "effective" or "highly-effective" rating; teachers who are their maximum pay who are rated at "ineffective" or "minimally effective" will move down a step
  • A joint professional development committee will be formed to determine the needs of the district
  • High School teachers will be required to provide academic support and consultation to students in tutorial, or study-hall, periods
  • All teachers will be paid in 26 increments throughout the year; fewer pay periods will not be offered as an option

At least two items highlighted in the proposed contract would appear to be an effort to encourage retirement by teachers who are eligible, including:

  • a $2,000 "early notification stipened" to any teacher who provides the district with written notice of resignation due to retirement by March 1 with the retirement effective June 30 to Aug. 31; the retirement is irrevocable and must be a true retirement in that the teacher must provide evidence that they are drawing on retirement funds
  • those teachers who retire at the end of the 2013/14 school year will receive $50 per unused day of "individual roll bank days"

The question and answer session is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday in the cafeteria of Grosse Pointe North High School.

Chris K March 16, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Can you explain why a teacher that switches districts can't carry their experience with them and their salary. I have several ideas about this but I do not want to speculate.
Grosse Pointe March 16, 2013 at 02:36 AM
I never heard of why but this does give the district a lot of power.
MathFirst March 16, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Is base salary net of pension and health expenses. Remember young people are graduating with a significant amount of debt. Take home pay is the issue.
Anna March 16, 2013 at 03:49 AM
I would think it has to do with retention. It would discourage an educator from leaving a district for a better situation and encourage them to make a long-term commitment to one community.???. I would think a school board would want to reward an educator who is making a serious commitment to a community and not abuse this "power" over its employees. Recognizing commitment and effectiveness gives incentive to continue doing the same in the future.
Grosse Pointe March 16, 2013 at 09:10 PM
The district wants to pay its veteran teachers quite a bit less than what is being suggested by contributors to this blog and the other blog. It is better to ask "What do you think professionals who teach your children should be paid?" rather then to make general statements without amounts. I am worried that the Board of Education does not value teachers as much as the parents value the teachers AND that the Board would want the community to discuss salaries in general terms so that the Board can promote a negative feeling about teacher salaries.

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