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4J labor negotiations bog down

It appears talks between District 4J and the Eugene Education Association (EEA) ended early this morning with little progress after nine hours. No further talks are scheduled.

 

“The District continued to propose unacceptable changes to leadership language and barely moved on key financial issues,” says a statement from the EEA at 2:15 am today (June 11). “The District proposed 10 furlough days (a 5 percent pay cut), one of which would have been paid for out of insurance reserves. The District also offered no cost-of-living increase and half steps for members who are step-eligible.”

 

The EEA has recently offered a 0.8 percent COLA and full step increases, along with a $25 per member per month insurance contribution, also to be paid out of reserves.

 

“The District seems unwilling to look hard at its own spending priorities such as $350,000 to remodel the Ed Center auditorium, the continuation of costly conferences, and expensive consultants.”

 

Teachers have complained about the hiring of Massachusetts consultant Jon Saphier who was reportedly paid $290,000 last year and about $215,000 this year. The mandatory “Welcome Back Breakfast” at the Hilton at the beginning of this school year cost a reported $25,000 and some teachers have complained that it had no value. On Saphier’s website it says, “In recent years he has led large-scale district improvement projects forging working alliances between superintendents, union leaders, and school boards.”

 

Adding to the strife is resistance by teachers to a common high school schedule to be imposed next fall by Superintendent Shelly Berman and the 4J School Board.