November 4, 2015
To Mr. Anderson and our School Board Directors, Mr. Hottowe and the District Negotiations Team, Parents, Families and Community members:
The educators of Battle Ground School District have been working without a contract since September 1st, 2015.
BGEA began working on our contract language in March. The Negotiations Team met and decided on several methods of informing, engaging and empowering our 825+ BGEA members. We sent 2 surveys out to our members, and the Negotiation Team met with groups of individuals to seek their input and understanding of the current contract language. Members of the BGEA Negotiation Team attended coordinated bargaining meetings to look at other local districts and discuss the approach to Bargaining contracts.
The results of our surveys and the meetings generated a list of priorities from our educators for the BGEA Negotiation Team to take to the table. The priorities included compensation, longevity, work load, class size, TPEP, professional development money ($200.00), and insurance pool increase.
We first met with Mr. Hottowe and the District Negotiations Team on May 22nd, 2015 and presented our first proposal. The Negotiations team has met with them 16 times since that first day. We have also met many times separately to prepare for the combined negotiation meetings. On September 15th, 2015, BGEA received the first District Office counterproposal.
The BGEA Negotiation Team has continually communicated with our members, being mindful of the “confidentiality “agreement in our bargaining process. The team has published and distributed school district compensation comparison charts to illustrate how Battle Ground School District educators are remarkably behind local districts in compensation. We have gathered information on comparisons in the area of class size, professional development dollars and insurance pool increases as well.
District Office and BGEA agreed to apply for and received a mediator from PERC to aid in this challenging negotiations process. Although progress has been made in some areas, there is still so much work to be accomplished. BGEA has requested an additional mediator and a backup bargainer from WEA coming to assist in our continued negotiations process. We have also requested a Crisis Team from WEA to aid us moving forward.
The BGEA bargaining team will continue to fight for a contract that respects their members work and reflects their commitment to the Battle Ground students. BGEA members stand with their team.
The BGEA Negotiations Team
Linda Peterson, Lynn Davidson, Sheryl Piper, Christy Sloan, Marina Schwartz, Eileen O’Connor,
Lorri Sibley, Jim Scheurman, Jamie Hurly