Dallas teachers readying for possible strike later this week
Negotiations will be held Thursday with the strike currently set for Friday.
The clock is ticking as teachers for the Dallas School District get ready for another strike Friday.
Leaders with the teachers union, the Dallas Education Association, plan to meet with school district negotiators Thursday, “but we told them yesterday that we will meet everyday, all day if necessary, to avoid a strike,” union President Michael Cherinka Jr. said Friday in an email.
The ongoing contract dispute resulted in a divisive teachers strike in November and December. Teachers have been working without a union contract since September 2015.
“The district negotiating team has never refused to meet,” school district solicitor Vito DeLuca said Friday, responding to Cherinka’s comments.
Sticking points over the last year have included a demand that teachers pay a premium share for health benefits, proposals to alter an early retirement incentive and disagreements on how much to provide for pay increases.
Cherinka said negotiations recently “have been on a standstill” because they are waiting on health insurance information from Highmark. The union hopes to get the information Monday, so it can finalize an insurance proposal that “will show significant potential savings for the district,” Cherinka said.
The district will make a counter offer on wages based on health care savings and what the district can afford without increasing the property tax rate more than the maximum index amount established by the state, DeLuca said. The state each year establishes index amounts for each school district’s tax rate based on cost factors, and they typically range from 3 percent to 4 percent.
Current Dallas teacher salaries are based on a pay matrix from the last union agreement. Annual salaries range from $34,501 to $80,886. The average salary for union members is $62,412, records show.
Dallas teachers walk the picket line last year. The union is readying for another strike this week in the ongoing contract dispute.
Sticking points over the last year in the ongoing Dallas teachers contract dispute have included pay raises and health benefit costs.