New District Contract Settled

Adviser Note:  Christa Pierik was tasked with covering the contract negotiations that were tentatively settled last Friday.  Pierik followed this extremely complicated and slow process, read the “Joint Communications” that summarized each meeting, and attended a bargaining session at the ECBC headquarters the week of the settlement.  Here’s her summary of the events that led to the proposed 3-year settlement, the results of which are still not public.

At the end of 2018-19 school year, the current district teaching contract will expire which means that a new district contract has to be made to replace it. This contract is discussed between a selected group of teachers and administrators within the Centennial School District. This group of people meet and discuss issues such as teacher salary and classroom control in order to figure out what the changes will be for the new contract.

From CHS, Rob Havrilla, Kevin Christie, and Ben Petersen are the selected teacher representatives for the CEA. During an interview with Petersen, some of the CEA’s goals for the new contract were discussed. Better language supports around dangerous and disruptive students (, raises in salary, and required overtime reduction are just a small handful of the topics that are of concern. In order to keep things in perspective, the CEA and the district have IBB (Interests Based Bargaining) meetings where they discuss these types of topics.

While teachers draw most of their views from personal experience, the district comes from an overall look at how education, community, and finances fit into the picture.  For example, teachers want more pay, but the more the teachers are paid the less money the district has for school facilities like sports equipment or produce for school lunches. In order for a solution to surface, the CEA and the district must come to a compromise. “The best compromise is when nobody’s happy,” said Petersen.

In order to reach these compromises, there must be some type of structure within these IBB meetings. The CEA and the district start off sitting in a circle with the current contract pulled up on their laptops along with a pen and paper in hand to take notes. First the group decides what topic they want to focus on and then work from there. First, they leave the mic open to any CEA members to tell any stories or experiences they have had with the topic that might be part of their concern (like a formal “storytime”). After enough stories have been shared, they move on to forming their “Framing Questions.” These questions are suggested by both the CEA and the district and are then picked as priority with unanimous voting. The next three steps are data, interests, and options. The data is where they collect any current information that holds true about the topic at that time due to the wording of the contract. By doing this they are able to narrow down to what should be changed or not. Then from data they go into interests where everyone suggests what they want to be changed. Once they have done all those steps, they go into the options sections. This is when they start trying to make the wording and compromises for the topic. These steps are repeated for each topic until all topics are covered enough to start finalizing the contract.

The amount of time that is put into making these contracts is extraordinary and quite inspiring. There is no doubt that there is an abundant amount of consideration and thought that goes into these contracts. Not only is this true for contracts in the CHS district, but for government as well. People have to remember that there are always going to be differing opinions, but learning to be respectful and willing to compromise is how change can and will happen. Like Petersen said, “It’s time to stop complaining and start doing.”

As of May 31, 2019, the Centennial School District and Centennial Education Association reached a tentative agreement on the three year contract. The process is now in motion of forming a draft for the contract along with getting ECBC and School Board approval


Current district contract: (2016-2019) *Expiring after this year*