Columbia Schools makes final offer to teacher\'s association

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public School Officials informed the Columbia Missouri National Educators Association late Tuesday that its most recent proposal will be its last one. 

The two parties have been working on a new agreement that would run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017 and were planning to meet eight times to discuss the issues. After Tuesday night's meeting, the fourth so far, lawyers representing the School Board of Columbia Public Schools told CMNEA representatives they were done negotiating after this offer. 

"We are horrifically disappointed in the school board's choice to stop the meetings," said CMNEA President Susan McClintic. "We continue to look forward to representing our units and our membership." 

McClintic said there are many issues which the union is fighting for, with their main one being a frozen step on salary schedule, which she said has been in place since 2008. McClintic said this has given newer teachers the ability to make more than teachers who have been working in the district for awhile. 

Other issues CMNEA is bargaining about include secured planning time for teachers, work year days to be in the contract, and to limit meetings and events outside of school that teachers have to attend to 150 minutes per month. 

CMNEA proposed increased compensation of approximately $6.6 million for teachers, while the district counter proposed with an average increase in compensation for teachers of $784 based upon experience, equating to approximately $1.2 million.

In a news release CPS officials said the parties are far apart and "are approaching the issues from entirely different perspectives." 

CPS said it has agreed to provide 100% funding of medical, dental and life insurance, and has also agreed to provide salary increases for years of experience and increased compensation for teachers who continue their education. The district has also agreed to accrue personal days up to five days and has agreed to maximize planning time for instructional purposes. 

The base salary for at Step 1 teacher with a Bachelor's or Master's degree is $34,353.