New contract offer presented to the Dallas Education Association on Tuesday

By Eileen Godin - [email protected]

DALLAS TWP. — The Dallas School District presented the Dallas Education Association with a new comprehensive contract proposal Monday.

School Board member James Gattuso presented the new offer to union leaders in an hour-long meeting, said Michael Cherinka, the union president.

The offer includes a new salary matrix, healthcare plan and early retirement reduction, the Dallas School District Solicitor Vito DeLuca said.

“There is a lot of information to review,” Cherinka said. “We need time to analyze it before responding to it.”

DeLuca and Cherinka said the healthcare offer is completely revised and not based on the union’s previous proposal, prepared by Millennium Healthcare Group, an independent broker.

Cherinka said the union members would compare their current healthcare plan with the proposal next week.

“We have a (union) team meeting scheduled for next Tuesday,” Cherinka said.

Union members will also review the updated salary matrix, Cherinka said.

Under the expired pay matrix, Dallas School District teachers’ received raises for each year (columns) up to 16 years and for every six college credits above a bachelor’s degree (steps) up to 36 credits beyond a master’s degree.

The 2014-15 matrix started with minimum annual earnings of $34,501 and would take an educator 15 years to reach a maximum pay of $80,866.

DeLuca did not provide details about the reformulated salary matrix but noted Gattuso’s presentation, which outlined the salary schedule, healthcare and early retirement, will be posted on the district’s website by Tuesday.

Union attorney John Holland asked the district for some financial information about salary percentages, Cherinka said.

“They (school board members) made it seem the information would be readily available,” Cherinka said.

The school board and the union are scheduled to meet again on Nov. 14 and 15.

“I am hoping to have a response by Nov. 14,” Cherinka said.

The Dallas Education Association has worked without a valid contract since August 2015. Negotiations, which began in 2014, reached an impasse on issues of salary, healthcare, pensions and early retirement.

As a result, the union went on a 22-day strike in November 2016, and the remainder of the 2016-17 school year was marred by threats of a second strike.

The stalemate continued into the 2017-18 term and led to another strike that covered seven school days.

The union has set a new strike date of Nov. 22.

By Eileen Godin

[email protected]

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

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