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No Wage Freeze for Parkland Support Staff

Talks ended amicably but without a wage freeze for the 2012-2013 school year, said Parkland schools superintendent. The district will revisit the issue next year.

 

Parkland School District’s support staff will get their 4.95 percent raise for the final year of their contract and the school district will revisit the issue of a wage freeze next year, the schools superintendent said.

The district had been in negotiations with the support staff union – which represents food service personnel, teachers’ assistants, bus drivers and maintenance workers -- to forego their 2012-2013 raise as a way to help Parkland close its budget gap.

“We parted amicably,” said Parkland Superintendent Richard Sniscak of “We’ll reconvene discussions in January. We’ll honor the last year of the contract just like with the teachers.”

The talks did not break down over the pay freeze issue, said Brian Everett, president of the Parkland Education Support Professionals Association. He said the association was receptive to that discussion and had put on the table a way for the district to save $1 million over the next three years, including with a pay freeze for support staff in the 2012-2013 school year. 

However, Everett said, talks broke down over non-economic issues related to job security. Those issues needed to be resolved "to sell a pay freeze to a membership that has already been impacted a great deal," he said.

Of the three employment groups in the district -- administration, teachers and support staff -- Everett said the support staff has been hardest hit by the district's cutbacks. He said it was the only group to experience layoffs, pay cuts and a loss of benefits since cuts elsewhere came through attrition.

More than 30 support staff will have lost jobs between the 2011-2013 school years, he said. Others in the food services department have seen changes resulting in pay cuts and benefit losses, he said.

The Parkland Education Support Professionals Association represents more than 32 different job categories in the district. It includes full and part-time custodians, maintenance personnel, bus drivers, food services, secretarial/clerical employees, as well as paraprofessional positions and instructional aides, health room aides and playground aides.

About 65 percent of the support staff do not receive health coverage and are considered part-time, Everett said. 

Parkland honored the last year of the teachers' contract in 2011-2012 but the district teachers  for next year in early bird negotiations. The administrators for the current school year but are not accepting another one for 2012-2013. The size of their pay hike has not been announced.

Support staff received a 4.95 percent increase each year for the last four years of their five-year contract.

 expects to pass its  tonight, June 19, using $3.3 million from the fund balance to help plug a budget hole.

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SWT Resident June 19, 2012 at 01:15 PM
4.95% raise. Nice. I have not seen a raise in 5 years. 1/3 of my work colleagues took a 20% pay cut in the last 5 years. Most of the Commonwealth private sector has not seen a raise in just as long, and have also seen pay cuts. How about this: if school property taxes continue to spiral up at the rates they have been, the support staff won't have to worry about raises and job security. People will begin to flee the district in search of more affordable housing no matter if Parkland is #1 one the list of best schools in PA...or #501...and the schools will be forced to close, the kids transferred to other districts, and those support staff will be out of a job completely. When you can't afford to live...who cares about how good a school district can educate children. This especially goes for people like myself who have NO kids in school. I really pity our elderly and retirees. To be forced to take a reverse mortgage to hand over money to school districts who can't deal with unions...OR move in with their children...what a slap in their faces. And the up and coming young kids who can afford a house BUT not the ongoing increasing taxes...what a crime. Can't even get started in life. Greed will destroy what we know as life sooner or later. It's only a matter of time.
Tim Killimaji June 19, 2012 at 02:39 PM
no wage freeze, lay off the amount of people to equal that wage freeze, simple math
John June 20, 2012 at 12:51 AM
SWT, I echo your frustration. Can we stop the verbal gymnastics in these idiots we have negotiating on the behalf of the taxpayer! We have to "sell a pay freeze" to support staff? Mr. Janitor, you won't be getting the last 4.95% salary increase during a time of economic stress. If you and your brethren in 'support staff' don't like that, then your fired. Go try finding another job, maybe in he private sector, where your salary will be frozen, period! Can someone explain how a support group has received 4.95% increases for 5 years....I am not a PhD in mathematics, but that's 24.75% increase over 5 years...so if I were earning $30,000/yr, I now earn $37,475. I can say I know of nobody in my neighborhood, in my workplace or in my list of friends and colleagues who have come close to 24.75% increases since 2008. Mr. Everett compares his poor support staff to the other groups; teachers who average $68,000/yr and administrators who will be laying their own golden egg in weeks to come. Can we the taxpayer please get a competent negotiator. Oncologists have a better win/loss record than those geniuses representing the taxpayer! If the education employee doesn't like the deal, then walk. Supply and demand suggests there are thousands out there willing to take any and all available jobs, including the Superintendent!
John June 20, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Mr. Sniscak, "We'll reconvene in January"??? So you pay the raise in August...what in Gods name will you reconvene and discuss? Global warming? Classic point as to the total and complete incompetence in representing the taxpayer.....I can't wait until you negotiate your own salary increase in weeks to come. What a JOKE! This HAS TO STOP, or there will be people unwilling to pay anything. No need to move, just refuse to pay school tax. PERIOD!
SWT Resident June 20, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Tim...in the next few years that is exactly the choice school adminstrators and boards will be forced to make. As we begin to lose the taxpayers who are just holding on by their teeth now...as many walked away from upside down mortgages...so too will this attitude grip paying unaffordable school taxes. Especially when the taxpayer has NO children in school. Give it time. Until the pension situation AND the method of how school taxes are collected...we are a far, far away from this being resolved. The average...average, mind you, school tax bill in Parkland SD will hit nearly $6,500 per year before those two bottomless pits are addresses and 'fixed'. I don't know about many of you but that would basically double my current school taxes. And this report stating such information said to expect that tax rate by 2020...just eight years down the road. Its going to be a bumpy road and the sherrif's office will be busy with sales.

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