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.