Teachers in Council Bluffs & Lewis Central ask for 6 to 8 percent salary increase


January 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The chief negotiator for the Council Bluffs Education Association says his union has asked the Council Bluffs School Board for a total package increase of 8.02-percent. Robert Hansen says the CBEA’s membership is mindful that the district has financial issues, but he says his goal to make sure teachers in the district “Dont’t lose money out of pocket.” The education association negotiates on behalf of the 623 teachers employed in Council Bluffs schools.

Last year, the Council Bluffs School Board approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Council Bluffs Education Association that included a total package increase of 2.73 percent. This year the district has counter-offered what would be an increase of about 1.68 percent. Janet Reiners, the executive director of human resources and a negotiator for the district, told the Omaha World-Herald that the district’s counter-offer is to “keep the (pay) base the same at $31,929,” but allow teachers to get the automatic increases scheduled for each year they work for the district. The current agreement means teacher pay ranges from $37,676 to $69,797, depending on experience and education level.

Both Hansen and Reiners expect negotiations to go smoothly.Lewis Central’s Education Association, negotiating on behalf the Lewis Central school district’s 200 teachers, has asked for a total package increase of 6.77 percent this year, while the district has countered with no increase in the base and a smaller district contribution to the insurance package. Superintendent Mark Schweer said the two sides aren’t expected to meet again until they know what the health insurance premiums numbers will be.  Schweer said those numbers could rise by as much as 10 percent.