DALLAS TWP. — The Dallas School Board presented a “regressive” contract proposal Tuesday, said Mark McDade, the union’s chief negotiator.
The news seems to wipe out the progress reported during a May 15 negotiation 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 district business manager Grant Palfey presented a six-year deal that did include a three-year wage freeze, but also a total of about $1 million in salary increases spread out 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,” said the solicitor.
The offer presented 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,” he 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 with the 2018-19 proposed final budget which contained a 1.5 percent mill rate increase to 13.6338 mills.
A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value.
The school board would have to consider raising taxes up to the state index limit, which is a 2.99 percent increase, to afford the May 15 offer, noted DeLuca.
McDade disagreed. He summed up the board’s Tuesday proposal like this: “The wages were less than the last offer made; retirement and severance pay was less; health care was less.”
“They lessened the terms of the agreement,” McDade said. “It was very disappointing.”
Currently, there are no new negotiations set, according to DeLuca and McDade.
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 teachers having their salaries docked for seven contractual days they did not work.
In the 2017-18 school year, teachers went on strike seven days in September and returned voluntarily.
The union now has a pending strike date of Sept. 5.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews