GFPS approves substitute incentive pay; labor agreements

The Great Falls Public Schools board voted unanimously during their Aug. 8 meeting to improve incentive pay for substitute teachers and several collective bargaining agreements.

The district used incentive pay for substitute teachers during the last school year and had higher fill rates during those months, according to Kerry Dattilo, the district’s human resources director.

She said that teacher absences have increased during the last two years and substitutes working daily have also decreased.

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A portion of those absences and lack of substitutes was due to COVID, according to Dattilo.

“With the current nature of the employment market, we do not anticipate this problem diminishing during the 2022-2023 school year,” Dattilo wrote in her staff report for the board meeting.gfps sub fill rates Aug 2022

In this chart, the months highlighted in green were those when additional pay for substitutes was in place and Dattilo said the fill rates were higher during those months.

GFPS approves additional pay for substitute teachers

For the upcoming school year, the board approved an additional $400 for substitutes who work a minimum of 25 days during the following two-month blocks:

  • Sept. 1-Oct. 31
  • Nov. 1-Dec. 31
  • Jan. 1-Feb. 28
  • March 1-April 30

The board also approved an additional $400 for substitutes who work a minimum of 18 days at the end of the year, from May 1 to June 2.

Based on the amount spent for substitute incentive pay during the 2021-2022 school year, the district estimates the incentive pay for the upcoming year will cost $53,000.

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That additional pay will be funded through one-time ESSER, or federal COVID relief, funds.

The board also approved collective bargaining agreements with the Great Falls Technology Association.

That agreement was reopened on July 13 by mutual agreement between the union and the district.

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The new agreement is a three year contract that includes pay increases “due to significant turnover throughout this past year, including the inability to attract qualified applicants,” according to the staff report.

The new agreement includes a $3 per hour increase to all technology support technicians and technology core technicians for the upcoming school year.

“Technology is a vital component to running the district and the need to attract and retain quality employees is paramount,” according to the staff report.

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For the following two school years, there’s a 2 percent pay increase for all employees covered by this agreement.

The pay increase for the upcoming year equates to a base salary for this group of $588,266 for the upcoming school year. The increase the following year will cost about $11,765 and the year after, another $12,001.

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The board also approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters Local No.2 Food Service Employees.

This agreement expired on June 30 and the covers about 70 employees.

The new three-year agreement includes pay increase as follows:

gfps food service cba salary Aug 2022

The board also approved a health insurance plan renewal that includes five percent increased on premiums for the district and employees.

The total health plan premium contributions are derived from:

  • employer premium contributions;
  • employee premium contributions; and
  • the Rate Stabilization Reserve (RSR) Fund

The total plan cost of the upcoming school year is an estimated $11.4 million. Of that, the district’s portion is about $7 million, Dattilo told the board, plus $203,330 from the rate stabilization fund.

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The district is also planning pay increases for non-union employees and administrators that will be finalized during the budget discussion and vote at the Aug. 22 meeting.

The non-union employees include support personnel, paraprofessionals, teacher’s aides, hourly classified staff and part-time nurses.

The group includes 359 employees.

Staff is recommending a 1.5 percent increase for the part-time nurses, support staff and hourly classified employees and a $1 per hour increase for paraprofessionals and teacher’s aides for the upcoming school year.

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The estimated salary budget for this group is $6,223,391 and the cost of the increase is an estimated $260,622.

During the Aug. 22 budget meeting, the board will also consider salaries for the administrator and supervisor group that includes 48 employees.

Staff is proposing to increase this group’s salary by 1.5 percent.

The group includes:

  • three executive directors of student achievement
  • one director of business operations
  • one human resources director
  • one director of technology
  • two co-coordinators of curriculum and instruction
  • one coordinator of athletics
  • one coordinator of music and art
  • one coordinator of Indian education
  • two coordinators of student services
  • one coordinator of student services Title 1
  • one coordinator of transitional kindergarten
  • two high school principals
  • six high school associate principals
  • one alternative high school principal
  • two middle school principals
  • two middle school associate principals
  • 15 elementary principals
  • one elementary associate principal
  • one supervisor of facilities
  • one assistant supervisor of facilities
  • one supervisor of food services
  • one field supervisor of food services

The superintendent is not included in this group as his contract is considered separately.

The 1.5 percent increase in base salaries for this group is a total budget of $4,965,756 for an increase of $90,783, according to the staff report.