Union votes to OK school district contract for classified employees

The union for classified employees for the Bainbridge Island School District has voted to ratify its recently negotiated contract with the school district.

The Bainbridge Island Educational Support Professional Association met late last week to vote on the contract. The union represents custodians, bus drivers, mechanics, para-educators, food service workers, custodians, technology technicians, secretarial staff, maintenance personnel and other employees.

Mike McCloud, president of the Bainbridge Island Educational Support Professional Association, said in an email to the Review that there was widespread support for the new agreement at the union meeting on Sept. 12. The union negotiates a new contract with the school district every two years.

"We needed a simple majority to ratify and we got significantly more than that. Just over 87 percent of those voting approved of the contract," McCloud said.

McCloud also noted the contract will eventually go to the school board for approval.

"There are some formalities that need to take place before the new contract becomes official, most importantly approval by the school board but I am expecting the process to go smoothly from this point forward," McCloud said.

A copy of the negotiated contract was not immediately available.

Union officials had previously been considering an agreement that included the first increase in hourly wages for classified employees in several years.

Other potential modifications included a one-time bonus for full-time employees, based on their length of employment in the district; an agreement for tech staff to increase their tech pay to recognize additional training and certifications; additional hours for special education para-educators to attend district and building staff meetings; a change in how bus driver trip hours are calculated for benefit hours; an increase in hours for building tech work before and after the school year; an agreement to work with district officials on developing new evaluation standards and procedures; a guarantee of future talks on a share of surplus funds if the district has an excess of 5.5 percent at the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year; and a comprehensive review of all job classifications to make sure the classifications accurately reflect the duties performed by workers.

Last week, the Bainbridge school board unanimously approved a new two-year contract with its teachers' union.

The Bainbridge Island Education Association, which represents approximately 250 employees, earlier voted 198-3 to approve the new contract.


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