Frequently asked questions about contract negotiations

Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals

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The district’s standard negotiating practice for all employee associations is to include COLAs as part of wage increase proposals.

The district’s second proposal is a 6.6 percent increase in 2018-19 and 1.9 percent increase in 2019-20, for a total of 8.5 percent over two years—a total of $1.5 million. This offer exceeds the VAESP membership’s share of the net McCleary money by $200,000.

Learn more about how the levy swap affects the amount of funding available for classified salaries.

Under the provisions of ESSSB 6362, all Vancouver Public Schools employees are eligible to receive up to a 3.1 percent overall cost-of-living adjustment for the 2018-19 school year. Of that 3.1 percent cap, only 1.9 percent of it is passed through as state funding increases. Per the expired VAESP contract, only pass-through state-funded increases shall be granted until an agreement is reached on a new contract. The remaining 1.2 percent must be collectively bargained.

If accepted, Vancouver’s second proposal on Oct. 25, 2018, would raise the hourly wage for many VAESP positions above the hourly wage for equivalent positions in Evergreen Public Schools.

The following table is inclusive of longevity enhancements (i.e., step increases) for both school districts.

Position Evergreen 2018-19 min.  Evergreen 2018-19 max. Vancouver proposal #2 min. Vancouver proposal #2 max.
High school secretary $21.20 $25.95 $21.95 $26.88
Middle school secretary $21.20 $25.95 $21.95 $26.88
Elementary secretary $21.20 $25.95 $21.95 $26.88
ASB clerk/fiscal clerk $20.46 $24.83 $19.96 $24.58
Counseling clerk $18.35 $22.75 $18.96 $23.48
Attendance clerk $18.35 $22.75 $18.96 $23.48
Enrollment clerk $21.85 $26.45 $19.96 $24.58
Discipline clerk $18.35 $22.75 $18.96 $23.48
Library clerk $18.35 $22.75 $18.96 $23.48
Paraeducator–general education $15.51 $20.06 $17.62 $21.36
Paraeducator–special education $16.02 $20.74 $18.15 $21.99
Paraeducator–self-contained $16.02 $20.74 $18.15 $21.99
Paraeducator–English language learners $16.02 $20.74 $17.62 $21.36
Paraeducator–learning support $16.02 $20.74 $17.89 $21.68

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Following recent negotiations with the Vancouver Education Association, VPS settled a three-year contract that provides a total compensation increase of 13.6 percent for VEA members. Over three years, the total compensation increase is 18 percent.

VPS must address a $9.1 million shortfall in 2019-2020 to pay for the VEA contract, which will require budget cutting and spending from the district’s ending fund balance.

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In 2017-18, VAESP Uniserv Director Lynn Davidson raised concerns about special education staffing allocations, which were based on language in the 2016-18 contract with the Vancouver Education Association. In response to this concern, VPS and VEA agreed at the bargaining table that contract language of concern would revert to previous contract language.

The table below shows 2017-18 contract language and staffing ratios compared to 2018-19 contract language and staffing ratios. These contract changes affected 13 paraeducators at nine school sites. VPS currently has 500 paraeducator positions. None of the paraeducators impacted by these changes lost their jobs or wages.

Staff-to-student ratios were maintained.  The only reduction of staffing in this program would occur if an IEP team determined that a student no longer needed one-on-one paraeducator support, or if a student moved out or graduated/aged out.

2017-18 2018-19
Contract language 10.23D Structured Communications Centers: These classrooms serve students who are eligible under the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder or have related disabilities with significant communication, behavior, organizational, and sensory needs. Instruction shall take place in a self-contained environment designed for safety of students and staff with opportunities for generalization of learned skills in the school and community as deemed appropriate for each individual student. Students in these classrooms shall have the opportunity to access general education experiences based on their IEP.

One (1) teacher and three (3) paraeducators for up to ten (10) students. Program paraeducators shall count as the first one-on-one paraeducators.

10.23D Structured Communications Centers: These classrooms serve students who are eligible under the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder or have related disabilities with significant communication, behavior, organizational, and sensory needs. Instruction shall take place in a self-contained environment designed for safety of students and staff with opportunities for generalization of learned skills in the school and community as deemed appropriate for each individual student. Students in these classrooms shall have the opportunity to access general education experiences based on their IEP.

One (1) teacher and two (2) paraeducators for up to nine (9) students.

Certificated staffing caseload One teacher – caseload cap of 10 One teacher – caseload cap of 9
Classified staffing/program Three program paraeducators – program para serves as first 1:1 Two program paraeducators
1:1 paras per class Bay SCC x 2 classes:  13 1:1’s to 19 students

Discovery SCC x 2 classes:  11 1:1’s to 16 students

Marshall SCC x 3: 10 1:1’s to 28 students

Hough SCC x 2:  9 1:1’s to  20 students

Hudson’s Bay SCC x 2 classes:  15 1:1s to 20 students

Discovery SCC x 2 classes:  8 1:1s to 12 students

Marshall SCC  x 3 classes:  7 1:1s to 26 students

Hough SCC x 4 classes:  7 1:1’s to 32 students

Resulting adult:student ratio Bay SCC x 2 classes:  17:19

Discovery SCC x 2 classes:  17:16

Marshall SCC x 3 classes:  19:28

Hough SCC x 2 classes:  13:20

Bay SCC x 2 classes:  19:20

Discovery SCC x 2 classes: 12:12

Marshall SCC x 3 classes:  16:26

Hough SCC x 4 classes:  19:32

 

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The legislature appropriated just over $7.2 million for all classified salary and benefits.

  • VAESP’s members represent approximately 37 percent of the district’s classified workforce. VAESP’s proportionate share of the new state revenue is just over $2.7 million.
  • SEIU’s members represent approximately 49 percent of the district’s classified workforce. SEIU’s proportionate share of the new state revenue is just over $3.5 million.
  • ProTech employees represent approximately 14 percent of the district’s classified workforce. ProTech’s proportionate share of the new state revenue is nearly $1 million.

However, these amounts are offset by the loss of local levy and levy equalization funds. 

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VPS wage proposals

Date presented Avg. % increase Total cost increase over 2017-18
Wage schedule proposal #1 June 4, 2018 3.1 percent $750,000
Wage schedule proposal #2 Oct. 25, 2018 6.6 percent in 2018-19; 1.9 percent in 2019-20 $1.5 million in 2018-19
Wage schedule proposal #3 option 1 Dec. 3, 2018 6.6 percent in 2018-19; 1.9 percent in 2019-20; and workload relief $1.7 million in 2018-19
Wage schedule proposal #3 option 2 Dec. 3, 2018 7 percent in 2018-19; 1.9 percent in 2019-20 $1.7 million in 2018-19
Wage schedule proposal #4
Dec. 12, 2018 8.5 percent in 2018-19; 15.5 percent over four years $2.025 million in 2018-19
$2.7 million in 2019-20
$3.35 million in 2020-21
$3.9 million in 2021-22

VAESP wage proposals

Date presented Avg. % increase Total cost increase over 2017-18
Wage schedule proposal #1 June 4, 2018 25.2 percent $6.064 million
Wage schedule proposal #2 Oct. 25, 2018 22 percent on average $5.25 million
Wage schedule proposal #3 Dec. 3, 2018 20.6 percent on average $4.93 million

In addition, VAESP presented 37 proposals not directly related to the wage schedule that would cost VPS approximately $3 million.

The $6 million cost increase associated with VAESP wage schedule proposal #1 is comparable to the following numbers of positions using average salary and benefits:

Number of positions equivalent to proposed $6 million increase Approximate total positions in the VAESP workforce
Secretary 82 50
Clerk 89 140
Tech support professional 82 22
Paraprofessional 97 500

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Bargaining dates:

May 24, 1-4 p.m., meeting to discuss ground rules

June 4, 1-5 p.m., exchange of all proposals

June 5, 1-5 p.m., bargaining

July 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., bargaining

July 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., bargaining

Aug. 7, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., bargaining

Sept. 17, 12-5 p.m., bargaining

Sept. 20, 12-5 p.m., bargaining

Sept. 24, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., bargaining

Oct. 3, 12-5 p.m., bargaining

Oct. 25, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., bargaining

Oct. 29, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., bargaining

Oct. 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., bargaining

Nov. 5, 12-5 p.m., bargaining

Nov. 8, 12-5 p.m., bargaining

Dec. 3, bargaining

Dec. 12, bargaining

Approximately 70 proposals have been exchanged between VPS and VAESP.

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Under the provisions of ESSSB 6362, all Vancouver Public Schools employees, including the superintendent, are eligible to receive up to a 3.1 percent state cost-of-living adjustment for the 2018-19 school year. Many employees other than the superintendent are receiving additional improvements to their compensation per negotiated union contracts and district business practices.

In 2013, a basic, builder-quality shower enclosure and water and drain pipes were added to a bathroom adjacent to the superintendent’s office. The bathroom itself was there prior to 2008, when Dr. Webb was named superintendent. In response to community concerns and media coverage about the shower installation, a generous local patron reimbursed the district $4,000 to cover the full cost of the project. In addition, Dr. Webb donated another $4,000 to the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools, which distributed the money to programs that benefit students. So, the shower did not cost the district any money.

No. A bond measure approved by voters in Feb. 2017 is paying for the school construction projects and sports field installations underway in VPS. Bond funds cannot be used for teacher salaries or any other purpose except to build and/or improve school facilities and grounds.

No. The Legislature still isn’t meeting the Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate to provide full funding for K-12 schools. A local levy for educational maintenance and operations remains necessary to make up the gap in funding for essential services, including custodial and building maintenance staff ($6.5 million) special education ($3.7 million), paraprofessionals who assist teachers ($3 million), school safety and security personnel ($1.8 million) and substitute teaching costs ($1.5 million).

Additionally, VPS’ local levy pays for community priorities, such as teachers for non state-funded class-size reduction in grades 4-12 ($5 million), athletics and co-curricular programs ($3.5 million), counseling service staffing above state funding formulas ($1.6 million) and staffing for the district’s 18 Family-Community Resource Centers and two mobile FCRCs ($1.1 million).

The table below summarizes recent wage and contract improvements for all VPS employee groups.

Group 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
VEA .55% decrease (state legislated) .55% decrease (state legislated) 9% TRI wage increase/1.9% schedule decrease (state legislated) 0% wage increase 1.65% TRI wage increase/1.94% schedule wage increase 1% wage increase 1% wage increase 5% TRI increase 2% TRI increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
VAPA 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 2.5% wage increase 2.2% wage increase 1.7% wage increase 3% wage increase 3.5% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
Mgmt. 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 6.45% wage increase 1% wage 1.7% wage increase 3% wage increase 3.5% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
VAESP 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 1.025% wage increase, added $.10 to legevity stipend amounts 1% wage increase 1% wage increase 4.5% wage increase 2% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
Pro-Tech 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 1.025% wage increase 1% wage increase 0 2% wage increase 2% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
SEIU 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 2.5% wage increase 1% wage increase 2.2% wage increase, & 1% increase for targeted positions chosen by SEIU 2% wage increase 2% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%

This year, Washington state legislators developed a budget to meet the requirements of the Supreme Court (McCleary v. State) decision. As a result, the state increased its schools levy rate and will redistribute the money across all Washington districts.

Only in 2018, local school levy rates were not affected.

In 2019, the state will maintain its schools levy rate. Local school levy rates will be scaled back to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This is known as the levy swap. The changes will not affect voter-approved school bonds.

Please visit our webpage on 2018 property taxes for more information on how school-related levies and bonds impact property taxes.

Key point: Tax increases this year were the result of Washington state legislators’ efforts to meet the requirement of the McCleary lawsuit.

The district’s budget development process begins each December with the release of the Governor’s budget proposal, which provides a starting point for budget deliberations at the state level. The releases of the Senate and House budgets follow, and then the legislature works toward producing a consensus budget. The superintendent and chief fiscal officer assess the potential impacts of each version of the state’s budget and present that information to the board of directors.

Concurrently, the superintendent’s cabinet members collaborate with department managers to complete a zero-based budgeting exercise that identifies resources necessary for the next school year. They also submit needs-based budget requests for additional items that cannot be funded within their existing budget allocation. At this stage, input on budget needs and priorities is invited and received from school principals.

In the spring, after the legislature releases its consensus budget, the superintendent and chief fiscal officer present a set of preliminary budget recommendations to the board. The superintendent and chief fiscal officer then incorporate any changes from the board and prepare a final set of budget recommendations for board action. Throughout the entire process, budget updates are provided in the Inside VPS e-newsletter and on the district website. The board conducts a public hearing on the budget in August and then adopts the final budget.

Key point: District administrators work collaboratively with department and school leaders to create budget recommendations that are based on need and aligned with state and federal requirements.

Many districts will lose under the new funding model if they:

  • Employ more experienced, longer-serving teachers who make more money than the average allocation from the state;
  • Lose Local Effort Assistance, or levy equalization, which is additional money from the state for districts with lower assessed property values;
  • Currently have local levies higher than $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value;
  • Do not receive regionalization money because they aren’t considered a high cost of living area;
  • Do not have a high-poverty student population and therefore receive fewer Learning Assistance Program (LAP) funds.

Additionally, the state continues to underfund special education.

Key point: The state’s funding plan benefits some districts but it creates a shortage of funding for many school districts.

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