Friday, May 30, 2008

Report on the Fact Finder's Report

Following the guidelines of Act 88, the District filed a request for fact-finding in early April. A hearing was held on May 7, 2008, where both the District and the Union were granted the opportunity to present testimony and submit documentary evidence. The Fact Finder issued his Report on May 20, 2008 and distributed copies to both parties. The District appreciates the Fact Finder’s diligent efforts. To view the Report, go to the bottom of this page. The Report made the following primary recommendations:
  • Increase the salary schedule so that the total increase will be approximately 3% per year for 3 years.
  • Make no changes to the current health insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance, prescription drug, or vision care plans.
  • Make no changes to the teachers' assignment schedules.
  • Make no changes to the excused absence policy.
After reviewing the Report, the Board of School Directors has voted not to accept it for two primary reasons. First, the District cannot agree to recommendations that make absolutely no changes to the current health and prescription drug plans. As noted elsewhere, Neshaminy is the only District in Bucks County where teachers make no contribution to the cost of their health care premiums. Second, the Report did not address numerous other bargaining issues that are of concern to the District, including (but not limited to):
  • Number of steps on the salary schedule
  • Costs associated with the retirement incentive package
  • Length of the work day and number of work days in the year
  • Automatic salary credit for graduate-level courses that are not part of a formal Master's Degree program
Although we have not accepted the recommendations in the Fact Finder’s Report, we look forward to good faith bargaining with the Union in order to reach agreement on a contract that is fair and equitable to all, including staff, Neshaminy taxpayers and students. NFT Fact Finding Report 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Comparisons with Other Districts

Updated July 2009

Click the tabs at the bottom for information.

Summary of Union Proposal

  1. Increase the salary schedule by 4% annually.

  2. Do not assign more than three consecutive teaching periods to any teacher’s schedule.

  3. Eliminate “sister schooling” at the elementary level.

  4. Increase the number of preparation periods from 5 to 7 per week to allow for co-planning for all elementary and secondary teachers.

  5. Allow 12 days per year or 15 periods per marking period for IEP preparation for Special Education teachers.

  6. Cap the number of Special Education students placed in regular education classrooms at a ratio of 1 Special Ed student for every 3 Regular Ed students.

  7. Implement a required technology education component at the elementary level to be taught by a Business Computer Information Technology certified teacher.

  8. Implement a full-day kindergarten program.

  9. Increase the cash payment component of the retirement incentive package from $27,500 to $30,000.

  10. Reduce maximum class size limits from 29 to 27 in Grade 4. Reduce maximum class size limits from 29 to 28 in Grade 5. Reduce maximum class size limits from 35 to 30 at the secondary level.

  11. Implement the following case load limits:

    1. Guidance Counselor (250:1)

    2. School Nurse (750:1)

    3. ELL Teacher (150:1 Basic, 100:1 Intermediate, 50:1 Advanced)

    4. Social Worker (250:1)

    5. Psychologist (1000:1)

Summary of District Proposal

  1. Increase the salary schedule by 1% annually. This equates to a 3.1% annual increase for returning staff.

  2. Increase the number of steps on salary schedule from 11 to 15 over 3 years. Most other districts in Bucks County have 14 or 15 steps.

  3. Eliminate longevity payments (current longevity payments will be grandfathered). Only three other districts in Bucks County currently provide longevity payments.

  4. Replace the current base medical benefits package (Blue Cross PC-15) with Keystone C1-F1-O1. Premium contributions (currently 0) will be 10% in 2008-09, 11% in 2009-10 and 12% in 2010-11, and will include contributions for the Prescription Drug component of the plan. Such contributions will also apply for dental and vision care benefits. PC-15 and PC-10/20/70 will be available as buy-up plans; employees electing either buy-up plan will pay 100% of the difference in cost between the buy-up plan and the base plan. Neshaminy is the only district in Bucks County where teachers do not make any premium contributions.

  5. Eliminate the retirement incentive package (which currently includes a $27,500 cash payment plus full health benefits coverage at no cost until age 65). No other district in Bucks County offers the combination of a significant cash incentive plus fully paid health benefits.

  6. Eliminate the Long Term Substitute Pool (LTSP), which requires the District to give preference to those in the LTSP when filling vacancies. No other district in Bucks County has such a requirement.

  7. Increase the number of work days from 188.5 to 190.5. The average in the rest of Bucks County is 192.5.

  8. Increase the length of the work day from 7.0 hours to 7.5 hours. Only two other districts in Bucks County have work days of less than 7.5 hours.

  9. Eliminate recognition of Master’s Equivalency (MEQ) certificates for salary purposes (current MEQ credentials will be grandfathered). No other district in Bucks County currently recognizes new MEQ credits for salary credit.

  10. Change six excused absence days per year to three personal leave days. Most other districts in Bucks County allow between two and four days of leave.

  11. Replace current required student/teacher ratios with those from the 1997-2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement. This would affect Grades K-5, resulting in the following changes in maximum class size:






4 and 5















  1. Institute a mandatory drug testing plan for certified staff.

Highlights of the Expired Contract

The Neshaminy Board of School Directors respects and values the excellent work and effort put forward by its certified teaching staff. We believe that Neshaminy teachers should be well compensated and provided substantial benefits in return. But the plain fact is that the current salary structure is one of the most expensive in all of Bucks County; in addition, the recently expired contract provides many benefits that no other District in the County provides. It is important to note that the certified teaching staff may continue to work under the terms of the expired contract indefinitely until a new contract is in place.

  1. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Neshaminy had the second-highest paid teaching staff in the State in 2006-07 among 727 local educational institutions. Neshaminy’s average salary was $81,816.

  2. The Neshaminy salary structure has fewer steps than any other District in Bucks County – this represents the amount of time before a teacher reaches maximum salary. Plus, Neshaminy is one of only four Districts that pays a longevity bonus. When combined with the current salary schedule, Neshaminy pays its teachers more than they would earn in any other Bucks County District except Council Rock, which is a much wealthier District.

  3. Neshaminy is the only District in Bucks County where teachers do not contribute toward their health care premiums. Neshaminy also has one of the most expensive plans, including a "single source" prescription drug provision costing over $1 million annually, which no other District has had since the 1990s.

  4. Neshaminy has the most generous and most expensive retirement package in Bucks County by far. No other District offers the combination of a significant cash incentive plus a fully paid benefits package until age 65.

  5. Neshaminy teachers work fewer hours per year than any other District in Bucks County.

  6. Neshaminy is the only District in Bucks County where teachers get automatic salary credit for graduate-level courses that are not part of a formal Master's Degree program.

  7. No District in Bucks County provides more total excused absence / personal leave days than Neshaminy.

We believe it is unfair to expect our taxpayers to continue to support salary and benefit levels that are so far out of the norm compared to surrounding Districts.