Nearly 100 educators representing school districts across the state volunteered their time Saturday, Nov. 3, to discuss ways they can better advocate for teachers and students as part of the 2018 UEA Bargaining Summit. The event was held at the Jordan School District Auxiliary Services Building in West Jordan.
“The Summit is an opportunity for teacher leaders from across the state to share best practices for working effectively with district administrators and school boards,” said UEA Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain. This marked the seventh year UEA has held a Bargaining Summit.
The Summit began with a discussion about the statewide funding and local bargaining opportunities created as a result of the Our Schools Now initiative and Question 1 on the 2018 General Election ballot. UEA President Heidi Matthews provided a background and overview, including the UEA’s presence as an effective power broker through Our Schools Now signature gathering and the Question 1 campaign.
UEA Director of Education Excellence and Government Relations Sara Jones shared details of the current Our Schools Now proposals to be considered during the 2019 General Legislative Session. UEA Director of Communications Mike Kelley shared effective messaging strategies to use in a post-Question 1 environment. The session concluded with a discussion about carrying the power and goodwill generated by the effort into districts and schools.
Breakout sessions at the Summit included the following:
- Come to Terms – Bargaining Terminology: Explaining terms like ‘master agreement’ and ‘negotiated policy.’ Presented by Mallory Record, Canyons School District and Jennifer Boehme, Jordan UniServ Director.
- Communication During Bargaining – Ground Rules and Timelines: What to say to members and when to say it. Presented by Rod Hurd, Sevier School District; Marsha Curtis, Uintah School District and Boni Henrie, Eastern UniServ Director.
- Insurance – Types of Insurance: Differences between traditional, high-deductible and health savings accounts, how they work and what parts of insurance can really be negotiated. Presented by Christy Giblon, Provo School District and Kathleen Cheshire, Color Country UniServ Director
- Bargaining Resources: Resources for district financial information, independent information, model policy language and more. Presented by Jay Blain, UEA Director of Policy.
- School Finance 1 – Beginning: The “what” of school finance including district budgets, understanding the UEA distribution sheet and what money comes from the state and what money comes from local property taxes. Presented by Jake Shewmake, Washington County School District and Jennifer Boehme, Jordan UniServ Director.
- Bargaining for Equitable Resources – The Common Good: A discussion about the differences between equitable and equal funding and a brainstorming piece to gain ideas for negotiations and possible policy language. Presented by Caren Burns, Granite School District and Cindy Formeller, Granite UniServ Director.
- Salary Schedules – Structures and Types: Understanding salary schedule structures and types. Presented by Yvonne Speckman, Davis School District; Michele Bowden, Box Elder School District; Brad Shuler, Nebo and Ron Firmage, Woodland Peaks UniServ Director
- Comptracker – Online Bargaining Resource: Software to enhance bargaining. Presented by Jay Blain, UEA Director of Policy
- School Finance 2 – Advanced: The “why” of school finance, including equalization, Our Schools Now funding, truth-in-taxation for increasing the levy versus bond for new buildings and influencing the budget timeline. Presented by Todd Hauber, Park City School District Business Administrator and Jennifer Boehme, Jordan UniServ Director.
In a lunch-time General Session, Washington County Education Association President Amy Barton, Northern Utah UniServ Director Curt Benjamin and UEA General Counsel Tracey Watson provided ips for negotiating bargaining in a right-to-work state such as Utah where no bargaining law exists.
The meeting concluded with participants gathering in local negotiations teams to begin negotiations planning. “Participants left energized, engaged and educated about the bargaining process,” said Blain. “Our hope is that this event will give bargaining teams the tools they need to successfully advocate for their profession and for the collective good of public education in Utah.”