Indian Creek talks stalled

MINGO JUNCTION – Negotiations between the Indian Creek Board of Education and the district’s education association regarding a collective bargaining agreement were discussed during a Wednesday board meeting.

According to Superintendent John Rocchi, the board adopted a resolution during the organizational meeting that effectively ended the talks.

“The resolution calls for the unilateral implementation of the board’s last, best and final offer by next Friday,” he stated. “Both sides worked hard, were committed to the process and negotiated in good faith.”

The previous agreement expired in August and the board has since reached three tentative agreements with the union’s negotiating teams – on Sept. 5, Nov. 6 and Nov. 25. All of the offers were rejected by members of the Indian Creek Education Association.

“The board feels that it is left with no alternative but to proceed with the implementation of its last, best and final offer in order to bring the negotiations process to a conclusion,” a board of education press release stated.

An official with the ICEA said Friday the union is trying to decide what its next step will be.

“We have our crisis management team going through and looking at our options,” said Johnathan Hoover, president of the ICEA. “Once they’ve met and come up with the next step, we will look at what we need to do as a union.

“We were hoping we could come to an agreement with the board, but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen,” he added.

The current offer states that the staff would receive a 1 percent salary increase on the base effective last Sept. 1. A 2 percent salary increase would be effective this Sept. 1.

“The contract also states that upon receipt of any bonus in connection with the signing of an oil and gas lease, 7.5 percent of such revenue will be set aside and divided equally among all bargaining unit members and paid as a stipend,” Rocchi added.

The proposed contract notes that teachers can create online courses with prior approval of the superintendent at a rate of $1,000 per course; that each bargaining unit member will pay 6 percent of the premium for coverage under the district’s medical plan; and calls for the implementation of a teacher evaluation policy in accordance with the standards-based statewide teacher evaluation framework adopted by the state board of education in November 2011.

The press release also stated, “The board has offered a proposal that is fair to the staff, fair to the district’s residents and fair to the students.”

A special meeting will be held at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at the district office.