STUART, Fla. – The Martin County Education Association (MCEA) recently declared impasse in negotiations with the Martin County School District (MCSD). The two sides have been negotiating for three months with very little progress made.
The two sides met in the fall to negotiate the millage stipend, which was settled quickly. When regularly scheduled negotiations began, however, no agreement could be reached. The district and union have not been to impasse for five years prior to this.
Karen Resciniti, MCEA president, is not happy with the way this current round of bargaining has gone. She has been president for two years and was on the MCEA negotiations team last time they went to impasse. She was caught off guard by the lack of willingness to bargain by the district.
“The taxpayers of Martin County have shown their appreciation for their teachers in passing the millage referendum. The teachers are truly grateful,” said Resciniti. “But this money will not be received until the 2019-20 school year. It’s time that the district show their appreciation for their teachers with a reasonable raise for the 2018-19 school year contract.”
Arian Dineen is a building representative for MCEA and is also part of the union bargaining team. She was on the team last year when the two sides came to a settlement, and is very disappointed in how things have gone this time around.
“I’m not sure that district level administration is fully aware of the level of frustration and low morale in our teaching staff,” Dineen said. “This should be a significant concern to our parents, as research has repeatedly shown that stability in faculty and staff is a leading factor in school excellence.”
“It seems as if the district negotiating team is counting on the millage stipends to ‘cover’ teacher raises. This was meant to supplement teacher pay, not replace raises. Palm Beach County negotiated for 3 percent raises in addition to their millage.”
The district and the union have reached agreement on some of the issues that were raised. The two biggest issues are money and planning time. Planning time is time that teachers use to grade, contact parents and plan their lessons. This time is being eroded and replaced with professional development. Another point of contention has been the use of comp time.
The district and union have not set any further negotiation dates since impasse was declared April 22. Teachers have not received a raise this year to date.
Contact: Frank Peterman, MCEA Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
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MCEA is a not-for-profit professional teachers’ organization designed to advocate the advancement of a free public education for all; to empower and advance professional growth for educators; and to engage our members and our community in order to ensure that our students learn and succeed in a diverse world.