HIGHLAND, MI—Huron Valley Schools (HVS) and the Huron Valley Education Association (HVEA) have agreed to a two-year extension to the existing collective bargaining agreement between the parties.
The goal of the extension is to achieve longer-term financial stability for the district. Over the past several years HVS and its employee groups have worked hard to create and maintain collaborative working relationships. Decisions regarding insurance have become transparent through the use of a district-wide committee of representatives from the various employee groups. As part of this progressive contract extension, the parties will implement a Financial Review Committee and a district-wide Marketing Committee. Both groups will include representatives from the district’s management team as well as employee groups.
The extension was approved by the HVEA membership in voting over a four-day period. The HVS Board of Education voted unanimously in support of the measure at a special meeting on Monday, March 25.
“By reaching an agreement, the HVEA and HVS have illustrated their commitment to working together to maintain the stability and integrity of this district,” HVEA President Josh Gignac said.
HVS is one of the lowest funded districts in Michigan with a per pupil foundation allowance of $6,966. Accordingly, the district’s professional staff is one of the lowest paid in Oakland County. The concessions in the current contract continue that trend.
“The value of our staff is much greater than we can afford—it is through their continued financial sacrifices that we can operate efficiently on behalf of our students,” Superintendent Jim
Baker said. “We have invested a great deal of time and energy in building relationships based on transparency and trust. This contract extension is a further demonstration of that.”
Key components of the extension:
- Two-year extension to current collective bargaining agreement (extends to 7-31-17)
- Creates Financial Review Committee that will convene to consider market indicators that could impact future compensation
- Establishes Marketing Committee intended to develop and implement strategies to increase student enrollment
- Maintains the increased number of days for students provided for in the current school calendar
- Maintains district-wide Insurance Committee, fostering transparency in the decision-making process.
“If anything, the Draconian cuts to public education have galvanized our professional groups,” Gignac said. “None of us have created this storm. We are now in a position to provide as much shelter as possible to our district stakeholders. In other words, we can’t control the wind, but we can control the sails. That is what this extension allows for.”
According to Baker, “This extension is another step toward maintaining collaborative working relationships and transparency in compensation. This agreement sets up a system to look at the main factors in determining pay, including enrollment, state aid, steps, fund equity and the costs of health care and retirement, giving employees a role in helping the district maintain a quality educational program for its students with limited resources.”
EDITORS NOTE: This communication was jointly prepared and released by the Huron Valley Education Association and Huron Valley Schools.