At the Creston Teacher’s Union meeting Monday, several new and revised articles were brought to the table, as well as updates in relation to Gov. Terry Branstad’s new education legislation.
Currently, part of Branstad’s education reform calls for peer review.
Lesa Downing, sixth-12 instructional coach, said she spoke with Pat Shipley, Iowa State Education Association director for the southwest unit “and she feels our district is sitting in a very good place because we already have AIW (authentic intellectual work) in place so we’re already doing some collaboration.”
Peer review would consist of groups of professional colleagues collaborating to improve observation, coaching and professional development. All paperwork will go with the teacher being reviewed so reviews cannot be used negatively. All ongoing trainings are to be kept objective.
“From what I know, the state of Iowa has requested waivers from No Child Left Behind, and I think they’ve been denied twice at least,” said interim Superintendent Chuck Scott, “and probably our waivers will always be denied unless we have some form of teacher performance tied to student achievement.”
Another issue that was brought to the table was a revised adoption leave and an added emergency and family illness leave.
Adoption leave specifically includes leave for parents who have adopted, but it has been revised to include the birth of a child and both parents need to care for the child.
Emergency and family illness leave has been added for employees to receive five days of leave per year to provide care for dependent family members, such as children, in the case of an illness.
“I think we’re one of the few districts in Hawkeye 10 that does not have a family leave policy,” said Downing.
Currently, teachers have to take an emergency day for a family illness.
“We have a staff that’s pretty young right now,” Downing said, “and with new teachers coming onboard we feel that it is to our benefit as a district to attract these younger teachers that we provide some sick days for when their children are sick.”
The Creston Education Association added an article “in regards to involuntary transfers that require any additional trainings or certification for the employee will be paid for by the district.”
The negotiation also asked for compensation for instructional coaches for the completion of a master’s degree.
An offer was made for an increase of $1,390.00 on the base salary annually and 5 percent supplemental pay for coaching and extracurricular positions. This package does not include insurance, as insurance fees are unknown at this time.
The union meeting clarified that Creston School District professionals who have retired early cannot work full time for the district anymore; however, they can work part time.
Currently, there are several extracurricular positions that are not paid positions, and the Creston Education Association negotiated making these positions paid. The positions are: Future Business Leaders of America instructor, $1,918.00; Creston Middle School student government instructor, $2,145.00; and assistant bowling coach, $1,918.00.
Creston School District must reply with a counteroffer to the teacher’s union negotiations within 10 working days.
The next teacher’s union meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan. 28.