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Friday, November 28, 2014
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BV teaching staff gains 5.3 percent salary increase
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

May 08. 2014 6:00AM
Educators in the Brandon Valley School District will see a 5.3 percent salary increase next year.

The increase, however, includes some one-time money from the state, a $250 per teacher bonus made possible when state legislators appropriated the extra funds to South Dakota teachers this past session.

It took just one meeting between negotiating representatives from the Brandon Valley Education Association and the school district to reach the tentative agreement, Superintendent Dave Pappone said. The BV Board of Education gave their approval on April 28. The BVEA unanimously approved the changes to the agreement on April 24, according to Todd Geerdes, BVEA chief negotiator.

“There were zero no votes, which shows how fairly all staff feel they have been treated,” Geerdes said.

“The relationship between the BVEA and the school district is one that we’re all proud of,” Pappone said. “The board hopes that they know that we do everything we can to give them reasonable increases.”

Geerdes added, “I would mirror Dave’s comments on how good of working relationship that the Association and the BV Board of Education/administration have.
That is demonstrated year after year in how quickly both parties are able to come to an agreement on contract language and salary increases. A trust has been established over the last 25 years that I have been negotiating and that is something that both parties are extremely proud of.”

The 5.3 salary increase comes from a variety of sources. To start, teachers will receive a 3.5 percent ongoing raise. Added to that is the $250 per teacher bump from the state, making up 4.1 percent of the total 5.3 percent increase.

In November, the district gave each teacher a one-time payment of $500, Pappone said. That will continue for 2014-15, he said, in addition to another $600 payment in April, which accounts for 1.2 percent of the 5.3 percent increase.

“We’re having to spend some of the reserves to do this,” Pappone said. But the reserves aren’t being spent because it’s no longer mandated.

Business Manager Paul Lundberg said school district reserve funds had been limited to 25 percent of their fund balances in the past. But that’s no longer true, as the state legislature removed that limitation in recent years.

Pappone said the additional $600 payment per teacher per year is not guaranteed to be ongoing.

In addition to the wage increase, also approved in the negotiation process are the following items:
• Addition of speech pathologist to the definition of the bargaining unit.

• Addition of head and assistant girls and boys soccer coaches.

• Speech pathologist will receive $500 every five years to make up for increased cost of maintaining their license.

• A longevity stipend, starting with the current school year’s staff, will be paid out for milestone years of service. In addition to the trinket memorabilia staff members receive for their milestone years, they will receive a Brandon Bucks Gift Card reflecting those years (i.e. 10 years will receive a $100 gift card, 15 years will receive a $150 gift card, etc.).

Geerdes concluded, “The Association is realistic in our proposals because we know the school board is treating us fairly because they appreciate the jobs that all of the district’s employees are doing to help educate the youth of our community.”

Educators in the Brandon Valley School District will see a 5.3 percent salary increase next year. Challenger file photo

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