Dear VPS families:
Vancouver Public Schools has decided to request mediation support from the state to help us reach agreement on a new contract with the Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals, the union that represents secretaries, clerks, paraeducators, technology support specialists and other non-teaching positions in the district.
The VPS bargaining team conveyed our interest in seeking mediation assistance to VAESP leaders this afternoon at the bargaining table. Our decision was based on the number of unresolved proposals; the gap between VPS and VAESP’s interests, especially on salary improvements; and the district’s financial position, which would require significant budget reductions and the loss of many employee positions to pay for VAESP’s desired contract provisions.
As we shared with you in a letter last week, VAESP’s proportionate share of the net new state McCleary funding for classified employee compensation averages approximately $1.3 million annually over the next four years. The VPS proposal currently on the table, a 6.6 percent increase for all VAESP employees in 2018-19 and a 1.9 percent increase in 2019-20, would cost approximately $1.5 million per year. VAESP’s October 25 proposal would increase the average salary by 22 percent at a total cost of $5.25 million per year.
VPS’ October proposal would add $200,000 to the district’s projected budget shortfall for 2019-20 bringing the total shortfall to $9.3 million. This includes the $9.1 million projected budget shortfall needed to pay for the new contract with the Vancouver Education Association.
Contract negotiations will continue on Nov. 5 and Nov. 8 pending the availability of a state mediator. We will keep you informed of further developments as we work together with VAESP and the mediator to reach an agreement.
Steven T. Webb, Ed.D.