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7 P.M. UPDATE: Strike is on, school is off

2011-09-06T17:37:00Z 2011-09-06T21:55:30Z 7 P.M. UPDATE: Strike is on, school is offBy Tim Trainor Montana Standard
September 06, 2011 5:37 pm  • 

Butte public schools are shuttered Wednesday after district officials and administrators failed to agree on a contract for the 2011-2012 school year.

Butte School District 1 and Teamsters' Union 2, which represented the 15 principals, assistant principals and directors at a last-chance meeting Tuesday evening, could not strike a deal which would have allowed schools to continue to operate.

The disagreement is a 1 percent difference in the size of a salary increase for the administrators.

The school district offered a 2 percent raise on administrators' base salary in addition to their guaranteed raises for experience. That would amount to at least a 4.4 percent annual pay increase for all the administrators.

The union countered last Friday with a proposal to accept a 1 percent raise for this year, while maintaining their request for the 4 percent experience factor increase for the administrators.

That divide could not be bridged Tuesday and a strike was called.

The union is requesting the same increase Superintendent Linda Reksten, Business Manager J.R. Richardson and Human Resources Director Therese McClafferty are expected to receive this year.

"It's a question of parity," said Bill Rowe, Teamsters' Union representative.

Rowe last week faxed a copy to The Standard showing that Reksten, Richardson and McClafferty had all received 6 percent raises for the year on their salaries, which included the 4 percent experience factor. Reksten last year earned $108,120, Richardson's salary was $105,856 and McClafferty was paid $64,045.

But the three non-union administrators have not agreed to contracts for the 2011-2012 school year, according to the district. All three are working under a temporary contract and are still receiving the same pay as last year.

Rowe said the three would get those increases once the administrators' contact is agreed upon.

The Butte School District did not return calls regarding the strike, but did release a statement.

"The district trustees are disappointed that the union made this choice," it read. "But, given the underfunding dilemma faced by the district, the school board strongly believes the offer made to the administrators is fair and reasonable and is also responsible to our community and its taxpayers, now and in the future."

The strike means there is no school Wednesday at Emerson, Hillcrest, Kennedy, Margaret Leary, West and Whittier elementaries as well as East Middle School, Butte High School and the Webster Complex. Those schools are closed until further notice.

Rural schools in Silver Bow County, including Ramsay, remain in operation, as does Butte Central Catholic schools.

All public school-sanctioned sports, activities and events are canceled for the length of the strike.

As of Tuesday evening, no meetings are scheduled between the two sides and neither said it had plans to bring a counter offer to the table.

"We gave our last and final (offer) and they gave their last and final (offer)," said Rowe. "Nothing else is scheduled at the present."

At least that is one thing they can agree on.

"The trustees remain hopeful that the administration will examine all aspects of the situation and accept the last, best and final offer made by the district to engage in mediation," said the district's statement.

- Reporter Tim Trainor may be reached via e-mail at tim.trainor@lee.net or call 496-5519.

 

Copyright 2014 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(14) Comments

  1. live2fish
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    live2fish - September 07, 2011 10:51 pm
    After seeing there was a gross proceeds tax windfall this year, I guess they feel now is the time to cash in on some loose change before the taxpayers get a chance to get a break. American Greed
  2. Atvpt1
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    Atvpt1 - September 07, 2011 7:42 am
    I say if you want parity, drop the Superintendents salary first off, or just cut her loose and start over.
    Teachers deserve to make a fair wage just like anyone else does. They are in the trenches every day doing what they do best, Teaching!
    I say redirect the money to those that deserve the raise. Wage cuts should start at the top. Leaders should lead by example, not by their pocket books. Man up people, and show us some leader ship examples!
  3. mtmom
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    mtmom - September 06, 2011 10:31 pm
    I'm just so disgusted in this whole thing!! I love the idea of firing them all..No contract, no guarantee to work..give the teachers their kids back, give THEM THE 2 or more percent offered and declined by admin and hire new admin..!! UNBELIEVABLE GREED!!!
  4. mtmom
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    mtmom - September 06, 2011 10:27 pm
    REALLY!!! this may have been a supportable cause had these admins salaries not been posted in the flippin paper!! Are these people so out of touch with the families even in there own schools that they don't realize that 2% would be welcomed by most of silverbow county right now?! The POLICE (street cops)that risk their lives for us don't even make what they are making now..The teachers that teach our kids every day, not those that push paper, don't even make 1/2 of the admins salary! To hell with them! Come into reality people..we are in a recession with monumental job loss and poverty and you're pissing on 1 to 2 %?? You're going to make our kids go longer through next summer, cut breaks short and suffer through your selfeshness for $1600 on an already $80K salary..WITH SUMMERS OFF!!!! Shame on you all...and Karma will come to haunt you..
  5. Sickofu
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    Sickofu - September 06, 2011 10:02 pm
    Patty is right on the money. In this time of tight budgets, nobody should be seeing the kind of raises they are after, including the board. I think I could make an exception for those who are actually doing the teaching. A pay raise that matches cost of living seems fair for the board and administrators, but no more than that. In the specific case of this strike, those involved should get nothing. The kids should come first. Somebody lost sight of that.
  6. Docwaters
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    Docwaters - September 06, 2011 9:44 pm
    These folks call themselves professionals? Professionals don't go out on strike.
  7. frustrated
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    frustrated - September 06, 2011 8:44 pm
    It cost more to negoiate than to give them raises. COME ON. How many of you want to be out there teaching these kids, lets get behind the educators, you know they deserve it.
  8. PattyM
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    PattyM - September 06, 2011 8:31 pm
    Hmm, here's a thought. The administrators want what the board got. Maybe the board should roll back their own raises to match their final offer to the administrators.......
  9. JackO
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    JackO - September 06, 2011 8:28 pm
    Listen Teamsters. You can achieve parity on more than one level. This issue should not stop the clock. You are professional administrators, so use your skills and get back to the table and do some creative negotiating. If you can't go through it, go around it.
  10. jon_w
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    jon_w - September 06, 2011 8:14 pm
    Just because a person has a college degree and above does not, and nor should it mean they get a pay raise evry year outside of step increases. It is time administrators at all levels learn what it means to not get pay raises, and this includes those who did get them this year. Frankly i say if the principals and others who are on strike dont want to wrk, fire all of them. Should be easy since there is no contract and they dont seem to want to work under the expired contract.
  11. Sickofu
    Report Abuse
    Sickofu - September 06, 2011 7:24 pm
    Really?!? Our whole district is being held up by 15 greedy people who make twice as much or more as the teachers who do the real work. Way to put yourselves first. I guess cost of living plus a little more isn't good enough. For this little stunt, you don't deserve a dime more. Do not cave in to these hostage takers!
  12. mtntamer
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    mtntamer - September 06, 2011 7:23 pm
    Lets just hire new ones at 25% less
  13. ButteBoy1
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    ButteBoy1 - September 06, 2011 6:58 pm
    Wow! And to think of our sons and daughters fighting overseas that got less than a 1.5% pay raise this year. I thought people went into education to help the kids. Guess not.
  14. dancergirl
    Report Abuse
    dancergirl - September 06, 2011 6:36 pm
    This is absolutely ridiculous!!!! One flippin percent? Really? C'mon people!

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