Blue Valley district, teachers union come to terms on contract for next 2 school years

Blue Valley

The Blue Valley School District has reached an agreement with their unionized teachers’ over a contract for both the 2021-22 and the 2022-23 school year. Most notably, the new agreement will boost starting teacher pay in the district from slightly more than $42,000 to $46,000 by next year. File photo.

The Blue Valley School District has reached an agreement with the local teachers’ union over a contract for both the current 2021-22 school year and the 2022-23 year.

After several negotiation sessions with the Blue Valley Education Association (BVEA) and the Blue Valley National Education Association — Resource Specialist Program (BVNEA-RSP), the two-year contract was unanimously passed at the district’s Board of Education meetings last month.

BVEA represents approximately 1,800 general and special education teachers in the district, while the BVNEA-RSP represents around 100 support staff, including speech language pathologists and occupational therapists.

This latest agreement is somewhat unusual because it is a two-year contract instead of the typical one year deal the district and union sign.

“Because the state legislature this year passed the two year budget, we had a very good idea of where we would be financially for the next two academic years,” Chief Human Resources Officer Eric Punswick said.

Below is a look at some key provisions of the new agreement:

  • The starting salary for Blue Valley teachers is being raised to $44,000 in the first year of the agreement, and $46,000 in the second year. This is an almost $2,000 raise from the district’s current $42,100 starting salary for beginning teachers.
  • Health insurance benefits for employees will see no increase.
  • An additional personal-leave day will be available for district employees.

In addition to the two-year contract with the unions, the district’s Board of Education also approved a 3.2% increase this year for all employee groups at Blue Valley and another 3.22% the the following year.

This portion of the wage increase will allow the district to make some big changes in their classified staffing wages, Punswick said.

“The board really supported increasing our wages in our classified staffing areas,” Punswick said. “So that we can be not only competitive with other school districts, but we can become competitive with the private sector and the retail sector that is around us.”

Punswick said the new changes brought on by the two-year contract and the increase in wages for all employees as well, was done in hopes to retain employees amid the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.