The Harwood Unified Education Association (HUEA) and Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board have agreed to ratify a new collective bargaining unit which the board subsequently ratified at its June 23 meeting last week.
“With the help of one mediation session, the board and union agreed to a few language changes, as well as a set percent of new money each year to go toward teacher salaries,” explained Justina Boyden, Harwood Unified Education Association spokesperson.
As spelled out in the contract, eligible teachers will receive 3.25% new money, inclusive of step increases, base increases and off-step increases for the 2021-2022 school year. That percentage of new money increases to 3.5% for the 2022-2023 school year and another 3.5% for the 2023-2024 school year.
“Our goal from the start of negotiations was to achieve salary parity, meaning that districtwide, teachers with similar education and experience make the same salary, regardless of which school they teach at. Overall, we are pleased with the new three-year agreement. With the new money that was agreed to, we feel confident that all teachers in our district will be at parity by the end of the agreement,” Boyden said.
Other components of the contract include a provision whereby a teacher who is laid off will be covered under the school district’s health insurance plan with premiums paid by the district for three months.
Health insurance is covered at 80% of a Gold-CDHP (Consumer Directed Health Plan) for employees. Those who want a more expensive plan will cover the difference in premiums. That plan costs $726.60 for a single person, $1,364.59 for two-people, $1,123.35 for parent/child and $2,012.69 for a family.
Additionally, the school district provides an HRA that covers 95% of the out of pocket costs of that plan of up to $4,750 for family/two-person or parent/child plan, and $2,375 for a single person. This means that employees on a family, two-person or parent/child plan are responsible for the first $250 in out-of-pocket expenses. That number is $125 for those on a single-person plan. Teachers who opt out of district’s health care receive a $1,400 payment.
The district also provides dental and optical insurance, contributing 96% of the premium. Finally, the district provides $50,000 in term life insurance.
In terms of professional development, teachers will be reimbursed for up to six credits per year at the equivalent cost of an in-state credit cost at the University of Vermont. That current cost is $683. Any teacher with five years of service, who is enrolled in an approved graduate program or working towards dual endorsement will have his/her reimbursable credits cumulative to a maximum of 12 credits per year. This benefit is restricted to a maximum of seven teachers in a contract year.
Teachers are entitled to 20 paid sick leave days per year and can accumulate up to 90 days at any given time. Teachers may also request and be granted a sabbatical of a full school year or half of the year and receive 50 % of their salary during that leave.
The contract can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jFjGOwh8kixra06StQ4cn4a-_1uG_4cD/view.