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November 15, 2023





We hope that you have had a great first few days of the second quarter.


Thank you for continuing to wear EPEA swag on Wednesdays as we stand in solidarity with negotiators as they work on settling a fair contract.




EPEA NEWS:

Negotiations Update:

As the first quarter of the school year draws to a close, we want to take a moment to update all members on the progress of our negotiations to settle a new contract. It has been many months since our team originally visited our schools and spoke directly with our teachers about what our district needs to do in order to best serve our students. This month, we reissued a survey regarding the topics our teachers identified as most critical to accomplishing the goal of creating a learning environment that ensures our students are afforded the best opportunity to achieve. The findings of our survey indicate that we stand united in our goal to reduce teacher workload, provide smaller classes to drive student achievement, and compensate our teachers fairly for the experiences we provide our students and the positive impact we have on our community.


To this point, we have remained hopeful that our district would recognize the importance of updating our contract to reflect the realities of our profession. At the beginning of our negotiations, the administration made it clear that they are satisfied with our contract and have no interest in changing anything related to our work. We have been rebuffed in our efforts to show administration the need for positive change in our contract, and it is apparent that our efforts will endure for the foreseeable future. To this end, we feel it is important for all teachers to know what is preventing settlement on our contract.

  • Inequitable duty free lunch

  • Inadequate prep time across roles/levels

  • Lack of compensation for scheduled events outside the duty day

  • Lack of benefit for amassed sick day accrual

  • Lack of compensation for class size target overages

  • Too many weekly meetings for staff

  • Discriminatory practices in compensation, transfer processes, and sub coverage/pay

  • Noncompliance with MDE protocols for QComp

  • Noncompliance with BMS order for preschool teachers

There are areas of negotiation that we have made ground: family health insurance, personal days, summer school rates, and enshrining the new statutory definition of teacher. However, we continue to engage our district administrators in a dialogue around what our schools and students need, and we have experienced our district leaders going back on previously agreed-upon language during this round of bargaining. So we remain in a complex process.


Action Team:

EPEA Action Team Core Leaders are meeting soon to plan, schedule, and prepare for our next steps to bring awareness to our negotiations status, rally community support, and effectively communicate the resolve the teachers of Eden Prairie Schools have to stand united for what is needed to best serve our students.

Please note: All action Team information will come to members through either in-person conversation or through personal email. The Action Team plans to have clear communication to all buildings near or after the Thanksgiving Break.



EPEA STAFF:




CONTRACT 101:

Article XI, Section 5: Personal Leave: Subd. 1. Personal Leave Accumulation: Subd. 1a. Any teacher defined in this agreement will earn one-half day of personal leave during any fiscal year when they work 85 days or more but less than 180 days per fiscal year. Any teacher working less than 85 days will receive no personal leave day. Teachers working 180 days or more will receive one and a half (1.5) personal leave days. Subd. 1b. Subject to personal leave accumulation, a teacher may request paid personal leave at his/her own discretion, provided a suitable substitute may be secured. Unused personal leave may accumulate to a maximum of five (5) days. Subd. 1c. Teachers on Step K1 or greater of the salary schedule shall earn an additional .5 day per year. Subd. 2. Requests for such leave must be made to the teacher's principal at least two (2) days in advance. Not more than five percent (5%), to the nearest whole number, of a building's classroom staff shall be permitted to have personal leave at any one time. The administration will give priority to such requests in the order of their submission. Subd. 3. An eligible employee as described in Article XI, Section 17, may request an advance of up to one (1) personal leave day. The employee must earn and pay back the advanced day of personal leave in the next school year. The employee will not be granted an advanced personal day in consecutive years. If an employee leaves the district's employment prior to earning the advanced personal day, then that day shall be deducted from the employee's last paycheck.



GUIDANCE from YOUR MEMBER RIGHTS ADVOCATE

If you are in need of support at an administration meeting, believe there is a contract violation, or have a performance/conduct-related support request, please connect with Carla Thompson (Lead MRA) cthompson@edenpr.org or 952-240-6577)


UPDATE from EDUCATION MINNESOTA:

Pension Update Meeting: December 11, 2023 4:30 pm to 6 pm Education Minnesota Apple Valley Field Office 6950 146th Street W., Suite 112, Apple Valley, MN 55124 All educators deserve the ability to retire with financial security. Pensions provide educators with a guaranteed, reliable source of income in retirement. They are also a tool to attract and retain qualified, experienced educators to the profession. We need competitive compensation packages that attract the best educators to the profession and keep them in our schools. The Minnesota Legislature needs to examine the breadth of options available to make teaching attractive. That includes enhanced retirement benefits that recognize and reward teachers’ hard work on behalf of students. In order to defend and improve educator pensions in Minnesota, we must work to elect officials who believe in strong pensions, tell them what educators need and get them to take action at the Legislature.

Please join us for an update on Education Minnesota's Pension Advocacy Plan and to find out how you can join the team to advocate for better pensions for educators! Registration Link: https://forms.office.com/r/V3vYzdZMjf Questions: email Nancy Fischer at nancy.fischer@edmn.org


MEMBER BENEFITS


HAPPENINGS from the SCHOOL BOARD:

The following slide deck (Financial Report FY 2022-2023) is the financial picture after last school year the district is presenting to the board and the community this fall. Additional funding (10.6%) is coming to the district this 23-24 school year. As the “Unassigned Fund Balance” has not been communicated to the public, it is likely the total balance of all funds is currently over $53M.

With the district projecting a Tax levy around the 6% mark, financial gains will continue to grow. View the slide deck here:

Financial Report FY 2022-23
.pdf
Download PDF • 331KB

Agendas, materials, and videos from past school board meetings can be located using the Link to Past School Board Agendas.


WHAT'S COMING UP?:

Are you interested in helping with the 2024 School Board election process? Eden Prairie Schools will have 3 seats up for election, and it is the goal of the EPEA to have strong advocates for public education hold those positions. If this is something that makes you giddy, please mark your calendar for some important training/planning to help facilitate this work.

  • Feb. 2 and 3, 2024

- Meals, accommodations, food, mileage covered

- If you are interested, please reach out to Dominic Kirkpatrick for registration steps/details.



Thank you for your continued support as we stand in solidarity together! The EPEA staff is here to support you. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to your building site representative.


Remember to wear your EPEA swag on Wednesdays!


"I will not be distracted by noise, chatter, or setbacks. Patience, commitment, grace, and purpose will guide me." -Louise Hay


In Solidarity,

Dominic Kirkpatrick, EPEA President

Charles Cooper, EPEA Vice President

Brent Bovitz, EPEA Treasurer

Jessica Premo, EPEA Secretary













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