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Bargaining Update – Latest SKPS Offer to SKEA

Highlights of SKPS offer to SKEA January 31, 2024

During the most recent mediation meeting on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, the district and the Salem-Keizer Education Association (SKEA) met for the fifth mediation session to work toward a fair, sustainable and student-centered contract. The parties have been involved in contract negotiations since April. 

Early in January, we approached SKEA leaders and proposed a better way for bargaining. The better way relies on dialogue and collaboration. A better way recognizes that our differences of opinion are minor in comparison to our shared and total commitment to Salem-Keizer students. 

We’ve been trying the better way for the month of January, and it has resulted in a significant new district offer for our licensed staff, worth $37 million over two years. This includes a one-time recognition and retention bonus of $5,000 for eligible employees, paid within 10 days of contract ratification.

Along with the details of the offer outlined below, go to video message from Superintendent Castañeda on YouTube about the district’s latest offer.

SKPS offer to SKEA

Highlights of SKPS offer to SKEA 2-year contract with 36.8 million broken 5 areas..

SKEA 2-year contract includes: $36.8 million in new financial offers to SKEA. $16.1 million for recognition and retention bonus. $14.9 million in new wage offers. $2.7 million in new insurance contributions. $1.7 million in differentials. $1.4 million in teacher stipends.

Highlights of SKPS Offer to SKEA by category.

Highlights of SKPS offer to SKEA - January 2024. Salem-Keizer Public Schools is committed to working alongside both labor associations through the mediation process to reach a fair, sustainable and student-centered contract. Details below.

One-time payment: Recognition and Retention Bonus

We are pleased to offer a $5,000 recognition and retention bonus that we will pay within 10 days of contract ratification. This bonus will be paid using one-time federal funding.

The bonus will be a one-time payment of $5,000 per full-time employee at or above 0.5 FTE and a $2,500 one-time payment for part-time employees below 0.5 FTE.

Better Pay

We are offering 9% increase over two years. This year, we are offering a 5.5% increase. Next year, we are offering a 3.5% increase. These increases are in addition to step increases for anyone who is eligible.

Better Benefits

We want our employees to have access to a range of great health insurance plans with little to no out-of-pocket expenses for premiums. Our offer increases district contributions to employee health insurance by $110 per month this year. By the second year of the contract, we will have increased our total contribution by $150 per month.

More voice: Greater Opportunities for Leadership

Our offer includes new, paid opportunities for teachers to bring their voice to decision-making and serve as leaders in their school. 

New Earning Opportunities

Increased differential opportunities for bilingual and special education teachers. 

Financial recognition of the important skills and assets our staff hold. 

Better Working Conditions

Our offer increases elementary school prep time an additional 60 minutes per week and adds new leave benefits and flexibility. 

Addressing the Statewide Funding Formula

For six months, we’ve been saying the same thing: our district is in a deep financial hole. We’ve been climbing out, but this contract will settle for less than our staff and schools deserve, and more than our district can afford. 
We are in a deep budget hole, in part because of a broken state funding formula. The most broken parts of this formula –that it doesn’t keep pace with the real costs of running schools and allows wealthy districts to receive more than less wealthy districts – are coming to a devastating head in Salem-Keizer. 
The state funding formula leaves us no choice but to prepare to reduce hundreds of positions to balance our budget for the 24-25 school year. We will make these devastating reductions because we must. As we do it, we call on our community and legislature to address the harm Salem-Keizer and districts around Oregon are about to experience. 

Bargaining Progress with SKEA

To date, the parties reached tentative agreements on 10 of the 21 articles in the collective bargaining agreement.

Stay up-to-date on the bargaining process with the district’s labor associations through the district's Labor Relations web page.