Steamboat schools’ bargaining team to tackle pay, insurance, planning time |

Steamboat schools’ bargaining team to tackle pay, insurance, planning time

Watch a CBT meeting

Following the passing of Proposition 104 in November 2014, collaborative bargaining meetings in Colorado are publicly noticed and open to members of the community.

Steamboat's CBT has agreed to hold some daytime and some evening meetings to accommodate members of the public who may wish to attend.

Future meetings are planned for:

Wednesday, March 16, 3:45 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, April 13, 3:45 to 8 p.m.

Tuesday, May 10, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

— It’s back to the negotiating table for the Steamboat Springs School District’s Collaborative Bargaining Team.

The group hit the ground running during its first meeting of the year Tuesday, hammering out a list of four bargaining priorities for the 2015-16 school year.

It appears the team will spend considerable time in 2016 talking about various components of compensation and a potential new policy for elementary planning time, as well as reviewing and revising four other existing policies.

During a brainstorming session, employees brought up a desire to revisit the list of districts used as comparable districts in deciding Steamboat employee salary levels.

If a revision to the comparable districts list were to take place during this school year’s bargaining, the corresponding salary changes wouldn’t take place until the 2016-17 school year, according to district administration.

“Basically, we have to live with what is happening this year, but we will review them for next year,” said Kathleen Huron, a teacher at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

Other compensation discussions the group plans to have could involve starting placement on the salary schedule for staff, summer school pay, cost of living in Steamboat and addressing a mathematically inconsistent overall salary schedule.

Soda Creek Elementary first grade teacher Kim Waldschmidt brought up the challenge of adequate elementary planning time as a topic worthy of discussion, though it isn’t part of a current negotiated policy. The team agreed to put planning time on the agenda for this year and questioned whether it was possible to create a new policy or incorporate planning time into an existing policy.

High school teacher Deirdre Boyd suggested a new policy that could serve as a baseline to ensure teachers receive adequate planning time.

“While, right now, planning time isn’t a negotiated policy, why can’t it be?” Boyd asked.

After introductions, a brief training session and brainstorming for this year’s topics, the team began its work by outlining parameters for an insurance committee, which will work separately from CBT and include employees not part of the bargaining team.

The insurance committee will be comprised of five building-level employees, the district’s finance director and human resources director, a representative from the district’s insurance committee and a board member; its main purpose will be to create building-level representatives who are knowledgeable about how the district’s insurance plan functions.

The group will discuss insurance premium rates, plans and employee-employer split of costs and may also brainstorm out-of-the-box solutions to keep employees healthier and costs down.

“The goal is to create a better understanding,” said Finance Director Mark Rydberg, who was part of insurance committees at other districts. “The group works through the financials, works through the plans and makes a recommendation to the team.”

Once formed, the group plans to begin a series of at least three monthly meetings starting in January.

The bargaining team spent much of the final two hours of Tuesday’s meeting diving into potential revisions of Negotiated Policy 6, which clarifies the details of teacher salary schedules.

The team split into three groups to discuss possible revisions, narrowed its options and assigned a rewrite of the policy to a sub-committee.

CBT meets again from 3:45 to 8 p.m. March 16 at the district office.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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