Marysville schools modify contracts with service unions

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District Board of Directors voted June 15 to approve contract modifications with the 10-month and 12-month Service Employees International Unions for Marysville.

Terry Brandon, executive director of human resources for the Marysville School District, explained that SEIU-10, which represents the paraprofessionals, bus drivers and cooks of the school district, has agreed to extend its current contract an additional year, so that it will expire Aug. 31, 2011. This will limit any salary schedule increases for the 2010-2011 school year to state-funded pass-through raises only, and will allow the district to predict labor costs for the group.

Although there will still be cuts in the district's budget reduction list, the union agreed that its paraprofessional members would be eligible to take voluntary deductions of up to two hours on the early release days during the 2009-2010 school year, so long as these do not impact services to children. Brandon estimated that, if half of these employees take voluntary deductions on those half-days, it could save the district between $8,000-$10,000, although he acknowledged that those employees are not required to do so.

After the board ratified this agreement, Brandon then explained that SEIU-12, which represents the district's maintenance, custodial, grounds and warehouse staff, has also agreed to extend its current contract and rates of pay to Aug. 31, 2011, in exchange for the district removing any reductions affecting SEIU-12 members from its reduction list.

As part of this agreement, the district will proceed with the replacement hiring of a currently vacant mechanic journeyman position in its transportation department, and members of SEIU-12 will postpone a previously negotiated 2.5 percent salary increase until Sept. 1, 2010. Members of the union are still eligible for any state-funded pass-through raises that might occur during this time.

According to Brandon, the Marysville School District Business and Finance Office has identified a savings of approximately $103,000 in the SEIU-12 proposal.

After the board ratified this agreement, Matt Edgerton, president of SEIU-12, noted that his union's members had realized the seriousness of the current economic downturn roughly midway through the 2008-2009 school year.

"Even our long-time members have never dealt with anything like this before," Edgerton said. "It's scary not to be able to predict the future."

Edgerton explained that the unions had approached the district, in the interests of ensuring that they could continue to provide their services to the district, as well as maintain those services at their current level.

"We're running pretty lean," Edgerton said. "We're pleased that the board has stood with us on this, on behalf the quality of health and safety services for our children, and I'm proud of our members for stepping up."

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