Cairo Association of Teachers - Newsletter

CAT Tracks for March 30, 2001


The CAT Bargaining Team met with the Board's Team on Wednesday night to discuss the threatened reduction in force. Superintendent Isom began the meeting by making a short presentation concerning the financial status of the District. He outlined steps that the Board was considering in order to reduce expenditures for next year by a targeted $650,000--both of a personnel and a nonpersonnel nature.

Dr. Isom then expressed his agreement with the CAT's earlier suggestion that known retirements and resignations among certified employees would be a sufficient savings from our bargaining unit. In other words, NO CERTIFIED EMPLOYEE WOULD BE RIFed! That was welcome news indeed.

The Board Team then asked for the CAT's opinion of a proposed retirement incentive and permission to offer said incentive to bargaining unit members. The Board Team stated that they had identified 12 employees who qualified by age (at least 55) for early retirement. The Board would be willing to offer an incentive for up to 30% (rounded to 4 of the 12) to retire at the end of this year. The Early Retirement Option (ERO) allows an employee who is at least 55 years old to retire before reaching age 60. However, in order to receive a nondiscounted annuity, the employee must make a one-time contribution based on the member's age or years of service. The Board's proposed incentive: It would pay the employee's share of ERO.

NOTE: ERO AND 2.2 ARE TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS. The Board is offering to pay your ERO contribution...NOT your 2.2 contribution. YOU would still be responsible for that.

The CAT and the Board agreed that no individual should/would be pressured into retiring. However, if you have been thinking about it...and this new benefit makes it desirable...go for it!


The Teacher Assistants' Bargaining Team (aides) met with the Board Team on Monday. Apparently, it got ugly. The Board Team indicated that for financial reasons, 18 teacher assistants would be released...almost half of the entire bargaining unit! The Teacher Assistants' Bargaining Team questioned the financial status of the District, but did not receive what they felt was an adequate response. The Board Team told them that there would be a Special Meeting on Thursday, March 29th, and that they anticipated making the dismissals then.

THE ??? ...

The above was written prior to last night's Board meeting. BULLETIN: The Board did NOT dismiss any teacher assistants last night. Instead, the Board announced a Special Meeting for April 9th to again consider finance and personnel--and to canvass the results of the April 3rd school board election. President Stubblefield addressed those in attendance, stating that the Superintendent was going to "reconfer" with the principals, make certain of staffing needs, and make every effort to "minimize the loss of personnel". In light of what was anticipated, this is a promising development for teacher assistants.

The only down-side to last night's meeting...the Board of Education did reserve its right to NOT renew the contracts of first-year teachers. This action would not be considered a RIF (which is specifically stated for financial reasons), but instead an "exercise of management rights".

So...uncertainty remains, but that is an improvement over what was expected last night.