Union negotiator: Dallas School Board ‘back peddles’ contract negotiations

By Eileen Godin - egodin@timesleader.com

DALLAS TWP. — The Dallas School Board “back peddled” with a “regressive” contract proposal, Mark McDade, the union’s chief negotiator said Tuesday.

The news dismisses the previous progress made at the May 15 session, which was the first time McDade represented the Dallas Education Association and met with the school board.

“The board made a regressive proposal that was inconsistent with the last session (May 15),” McDade said. “When we left the last session, we were close to an agreement. The board torpedoed the negotiation.”

Eight members of the school board and the district’s business manager Grant Palfey presented a six-year deal that included a three-year wage freeze, but also nearly $1 million in salary increase expanded over several years, Dallas School District attorney Vito DeLuca said.

The proposal also contained tiered health insurance for new hires, DeLuca said.

“We felt that was necessary to help pay for the contract,” DeLuca said.

The offer also had three health insurance programs; two with different levels of premium sharing and one without, DeLuca said.

“That goes to show we are negotiating at the extreme level of what the district can afford,” DeLuca said. “The board will not be put in a situation where program cuts and personnel reductions would be required for the contract.”

DeLuca said the board’s offer fits in the 2018-19 proposed final budget which contained a 1.5 percent mill rate increase to 13.6338 mills, DeLuca said.

A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value.

The school board would have to consider raising taxes to the state tax index limit, a 2.99 percent increase to afford the May 15 offer, DeLuca said.

However, McDade disagreed and summed up the board’s newest offer simply. “The wages were less than the last offer made, retirement and severance pay was less, health care was less,” he said.

“They lessened the terms of the agreement,” McDade said. “It was very disappointing.”

Currently, there are no new negotiation meetings set.

The Dallas Education Association’s contract expired in August 2015. Teachers conducted a 22-day strike in November 2016, which resulted in the 2016-17 school year ending June 30 and the teachers having their salaries docked for seven contractual days they did not work.

In the 2017-18 school year, teachers struck for seven days in September before returning voluntarily.

The union has a pending strike date of Sept. 5.

By Eileen Godin

egodin@timesleader.com

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews