Dexter Community Schools continues to work on a new agreement with the teachers

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Summer has started for Dexter Community Schools, but there’s still work to do.

One big task on the list is reaching a contract agreement with the teachers union, the Dexter Education Association (DEA).

At their June 20 meeting, the DCS Board of Education reached new contracts with three out of four employee groups.

Before the school board were four contracts, all of which the board approved.

However, as of June 23, only three out of the four employee groups had approved the negotiated contract before them.

The three approved by both sides of the negotiating table are the ones for: West Washtenaw Bus Drivers and Monitors Association, Dexter Education Support Personnel Association, and Dexter Administrators’ Association.

In follow up by the Sun Times News (STN), Mara Greatorex, President of the Dexter Board of Education, said the board ratified all of the contracts on the agenda, but...

She said the DEA voted to not ratify their contract on Monday (June 20) before the school board meeting.

“This means that we are still in negotiations- even though as a board we ratified the contract last night- amended to not include the 2022-2023 school calendar,” Greatorex said in the email response. “There are dates that are already set "in stone" for example, the first day of school will be September 6th- the Tuesday after Labor Day- also, Winter and Spring breaks are set by the WISD. Winter break will begin December 23, classes resume January 9th. Spring Break starts end of the school day on March 24th and resume Monday, April 3rd. We hope to reach an agreement soon. We value our teachers, and the long standing tradition of working together.”

“There were some significant increases- well deserved as our district staff is excellent and we appreciate all the hard work they do for our students!” Greatorex said by email.

Also by email, DCS Superintendent Chris Timmis told STN, “The teacher's contract was not ratified by the association, but was ratified by the board. Over the next several weeks, we anticipate reaching an agreement. DCS values the positive working relationship between the Board and the DEA. Our students are successful as a result of this positive relationship and collective commitment to students. We are confident that we will be able to reach a successor agreement and continue this positive relationship to the benefit of our students, staff, and community.”

He said, “Overall, the contracts represent significant financial increases to our employees that reflect the district's value of their work, the market for retention and recruiting, and provide for stability for our employees. In particular, the changes with special education paraeducator pay and increases to our support staff demonstrate how much the district values their work and commitment to kids. The administrator contract reflects what was in the tentative agreement with the teachers. The teacher contract included the largest salary increases in over 25 years (likely longer) at DCS and well-exceeds any locally bargained agreements in the area that we are aware of.”

According to the Dexter Community Schools Board of Education Executive Summary and Recommendation, found online in the meeting packet:

“The attached tentative agreement with the DEA. The successor agreement will run from 2022-2025 with a financial reopener in 2023-2024 and 2024-2025. Base salaries will increase by 4% for 2022-2023 and an additional 1% off-schedule payment. Effective January 2023, the Board maximum contribution will be increased by 4% more than the amount of the Board’s monthly contribution levels that were effective in the previous benefit plan year. The agreement includes compensation for extra duty positions, participation in Professional Learning Communities, and basic hourly teacher rate along with some general language clarification.”

STN reached out to the DEA.

Here is the response emailed from the DEA bargaining team to STN:

“While we have made solid progress at the table, our members sent a clear message that they want bargaining to continue. We're currently collecting information from teachers to guide us as we work to secure an agreement membership feels good about.”

To learn more go to https://www.dexterschools.org/district/board-of-education/meetings.

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