Nampa teachers will talk turkey about union negotiations over hot dogs

Nampa teachers will be serving up hot dogs, chips and their side of the argument for how the school district should resolve differences between the board of trustees and the union.Nampa Education Association is holding a “tailgate party” outside the Nampa district office, 619 S. Canyon Ave.,  between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. this evening before the board of trustees meeting.

Teachers and administrators are locked in sometimes-tense negotiations in the cash-strapped district that is counting on 14 days of teacher furloughs to help balance the district’s 2013-2014 school year budget.

More negotiations are expected later this month.

Mandy Simpson, Nampa Education Association president, complained that the district has not significantly changed its bargaining position since talks began. Teachers originally sought a 1.67 percent pay increase and no furlough days, but has since agreed to 12 furlough days and dropped its request for a pay raise.

Simpson wants the district “in good faith to come with some counteroffers.”

District officials has steadfastly said they don’t have the money. Nampa School District is digging its way out of a $5.1 million deficit and must cut $3.5 million off the upcoming year’s budget to avoid going into the red. Nampa  schools discovered a deficit beginning last August when school administrators realized the district had double-counted revenue and overestimated the number of students it would enroll in the 15,000-student district.

Teachers say furloughs will hurt educational quality.

Trustees should look at the district’s supply budget and possibly the $500,000 reserve account it is trying to establish for next year  as a way to buy back furlough days for teachers, Simpson said.

Posted in In The Classroom