COLA is 4% this year.
Our district would not even begin discussing contract items until November 1st. Said they hadn't figured out their "budget" yet, so couldn't bargain.
So we waited. Of course, they had no problem immediately withdrawing $105 a month from every single employee's paycheck for "increased health care costs." And, of course, even though I'm a department chair, that stipend has been missing in action for the first two paychecks of this school year.
Okay, so they came to the table finally this month. Offered, get this, 0% pay increase, and a 1% increase in what they pay for our insurance. Which means instead of a $105 decrease in our salary, it would be reduced to a $95 decrease.
Oh, and they want to change some contract language. Add an additional required night of duties (we all must attend back-to-school night), for a "Spring Open House" and add 6 adjunct hours of duties for the individual school administrations to assign in any way they see fit.
There's more. Special Ed. and ELL have teacher's aides built into the contract. Now the district wants to take the required number of hours and aides away. Let the individual school decide if the funds could be better spent somewhere else.
Have you ever been in a special ed class? I was an aide for seven years before I became a teacher, and it was all in special ed. Monday I observed a so-called "resource" class. There were 14 students, a teacher and 2 aides, and it was still mayhem. None of the students are at the same level, so some are working on algebra while others are trying to add negative and positive numbers. In addition, some of the kids were emotionally disturbed, some with learning disabilities, and others, well, I don't know. Tell me, how is that teacher supposed to meet her students' needs if the school decides it can't afford the aides?
So, here we are. November 16th. No contract, no raise, nothing.
Every year it's the same thing. We end up having to fight, and attend board meetings, and call people and walk around with signs... just to get what the state has already sent down for us.
Why oh why are teachers the last priority when it comes to this?