The Flagstaff Unified School District Governing Board and the Flagstaff Education Association have come to an agreement after a three-year hiatus.
The Board approved the agreement by a unanimous vote. Board member Carole Gilmore was not present at the meeting and did not vote.
FEA President Derek Born said, “It was extremely gratifying, after a three-year-long battle, to come to consensus with this board and ratify an Agreement --unanimously on both sides -- that recognizes our association as a valued source of input on our profession, our compensation, and our working conditions.”
“We didn't get every right from the past Agreement restored, but we were heard and met in the middle,” he said. “Plus, this agreement contains a new process where FEA will meet and confer with the board twice each year in open session, which means we can continue to have open, honest dialog around continuing to improve the relationship until it's one of the best in the state.”
The one-year agreement allows FEA, whose members include teachers as well as noncertificated staff, to have three members on the Meet and Confer Committee that is run by the Superintendent’s Office. The committee will meet with the superintendent on any recommendations relating to salaries, benefits and working conditions within the district before presenting to the governing board. The committee will meet with the board at least twice a year.
FEA may also use district buildings to hold meetings, for a fee, and according to district policies, including having insurance and reserving the space ahead of time. The association is also allowed to use the district's e-newsletter system to communicate their events and a shared bulletin board to post items in each school. FEA will also be able to distribute materials to all staff members using staff mailboxes in the schools and via FUSD email.
The board’s previous agreement with FEA lapsed during the 2014/2015 school year, supposedly because the board at that time felt that the association didn’t adequately represent all of the district’s employees because its membership was so low, about 40 percent of FUSD employees. The current membership of the organization is still around 40 percent of teachers in the district.
The cost of annual dues may be part of the reason why membership is so low. Annual dues for FEA are about $650. That agreement allowed FEA to negotiate salary and working conditions on behalf of district employees with the board. Two committees, a Voice and a Negotiation Committee, were created to take the place of the agreement.