School district, teachers work toward contract

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 24, 2013

 Troy School District teachers picket outside Smith Middle School during an open house at the school Sept. 19.

Troy School District teachers picket outside Smith Middle School during an open house at the school Sept. 19.

Photos by Donna Agusti

Despite sessions with a labor mediator, the Troy School District and the Troy Education Association, which represents teachers in the district, have not agreed on a labor contract.

Troy teachers who tried to distribute fliers to parents at Athens High School before that school’s open house Sept. 18 were asked to stop, were told they obstructed the flow of parents coming in and were asked to leave, said Troy Education Association President Tony Lucchi. Teachers were able to distribute the fliers at Troy High the same evening, Lucchi said. He said the fliers contained information about what Troy teachers do for the community.

Jasen Witt, assistant superintendent of human resources for the district, said he was still looking into the matter.

Witt said that there were three sessions with the mediator, scheduled for Sept. 26, and Oct. 1 and 4.

“The district is waiting on an economic counter offer from the union,” Witt said.

“I wouldn’t say we’re preparing a counter offer,” Lucchi said. “We’re looking to find a way to settle contract negotiations with a fair and equitable contract. We’re looking to continue the conversation and end the unfair approach of the board and the dealing with teachers.”

The sticking point remains step pay increases for teachers with less than 10 years seniority, which Lucchi said affected 600 of the 769 teachers in the district.

In 2011, the TEA agreed to concessions that included an 11 percent contribution for health care and the freeze on step increase raises, which saved the district more than $10 million throughout two years.

Witt said that one of the proposals on the table would provide teachers who are on steps one  though 10 with a total of $7,300 in new bonuses over two years — $4,500 the first year and $2,800 the second year. Also, all teachers, including those not on the steps, would receive $1,000 bonuses in 2013-14 and $1,100 for 2014-15.

Witt said the budget forecast adopted by the board includes up to $500,000 annually, which is designated for eligible teachers to receive as additional compensation under the district’s performance-based compensation model whereby a teacher could receive up to an additional $2,500. 

Legacy costs that district officials have said they wished to avoid refer to the compounding expense to the district budget that would result from the step advancements on the teacher salary schedule and any on-schedule percentage teacher salary raise, Witt said.

Salaries for each position in the Troy School District are posted on the district’s website,

This past June, the Troy School District Board of Education approved a $132 million budget, based on a student count of 12,440 and a fund balance of $22 million.