NEWTOWN >> The Council Rock School Board and the Council Rock Education Support Professional Association (CRESPA) have reached an agreement on a three-year contract effective from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022.
CRESPA members voted to ratify the contract on October 16. The next day, the Council Rock School Board voted unanimously to approve the agreement.
“It’s been a long road, but this is good for the future of the school district and good for our CRESPA members,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Fraser of the agreement. “Both sides worked hard for several months throughout this process.
“I view this contract as one that’s fair for all parties. It’s fair for CRESPA members. It’s fair for our taxpayers and our overall district operating budget,” said Fraser.
The contract, including salary and benefit changes will cost the district $585,000 in 2019-20, $800,000 for 2020-21 and $991,000 for 2021-22.
Under the agreement, CRESPA members will receive salary increases over the course of the three year contract of 1.75 percent in 2019-20, 1.75 percent in 2020-21, and 1.5 percent in 2021-22.
CRESPA members will also move in the salary scale in year one and year three, but not in year two.
The agreement also modifies employee health insurance benefits.
In 2019-20, there will be two Independence Blue Cross plans available to support staff - PC C3-F1-O1 and PC C4-F3-O2. The PC C3-F1-O1 will become the buy-up plan option. Employees electing the option will pay the total difference toward the cost of PC C3-F1- O1 and the base plan, PC C4-F3-O2.
Employees earning under $38,000 will contribute seven percent for the non-buy up plan option, and employees earning greater than $38,000 will contribute 9 percent for the non-buy up plan option.
In 2020-2021, the employee contributions will rise to 11 and 9 percent, respectively, for the non-buy up plan option.
In 2021-2022, the employee contributions will rise to 14 and 12 percent, respectively, for the non-buy up plan option.
• Beginning in 2019-2020, clinical utilization programs will be implemented for prescription drug benefits including prior authorization, step therapy, and drug quantity management. There are also increases to co-pays for brand formulary prescriptions, non-formulary prescriptions.
Additional changes include:
• Teacher Assistants working in particularly challenging assignments will earn an annual stipend of $150.
• Additionally, substantive changes have been made to language allowing greater managerial discretion in the creation of job descriptions and in the interview and selection processes.
• Several employees will also be reclassified to positions to accurately reflect the work performed.
“Negotiations can be difficult. It’s a long and it’s a tough process,” said board member Mariann McKee. “I want to applaud your leadership and how you conducted yourselves through the negotiations,” she told CRESPA leaders.
“I also want you to know how valued you are to the Council Rock community,” she continued. “We are all partners in this district for educating our children. I hope you will bring that message back to your members that they are valued members of our community.”
Board member Joseph Hidalgo agreed, recommending that the district consider setting aside a day or a week to celebrate the district’s support staff.
“I see it as a parent and as a community member what you do and how it helps the school district from the bottom up and from the top down,” he told the union leaders. “We appreciate everything that you do and I’m glad we got to this point.”
CRESPA represents the school district’s support staff including administrative assistants, athletic trainers, attendance secretaries, bookkeepers, bus monitors, cafeteria monitors, central warehouse specialists, clerical secretaries, computer network support technicians, electricians, groundskeepers, hall monitors, HVAC specialists, information system support specialists, instructional assistants, library assistants, maintenance specialists, painters, payroll clerks, plumbers, receptionists, recess monitors, shipper/receiver, secretaries for principals, guidance departments, district and school offices, security guards, staff nurses, transportation specialists and van drivers.