Service workers approve tentative contract with Wichita school district

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Wichita school service workers have approved a tentative contract that includes a one-time, 1 percent salary bonus and health insurance premiums for employees who want “buy-up” plans with lower deductibles, district officials announced Thursday.

Representatives of Service Employees International Union Local 513, which represents more than 2,000 classified school district employees, said 80 percent of the bargaining unit voted in favor of the contract.

Among the Uniformed Security Officers and Security Dispatchers group, the vote was unanimous, officials said.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

▪ A 1 percent, one-time salary bonus

▪ One step on the salary schedule

▪ Movement on the career ladder if employees are eligible and qualify

▪ An additional $100-per-employee district contribution to the health plan reserve

▪ A base health insurance plan with no premium and the option to purchase “buy up” plans with additional premiums.

▪ Clarified expectations for attendance and holiday shifts.

“Our members understand that the district has done the best it can to meet employee needs during a time when funding for public education is at risk,” said Esau Freeman, local business representative for the union, in a statement released by the district.

“While it’s not enough, we are thankful for what the (Wichita school board) has done to recognize employees.”

The tentative agreement will be presented for ratification to the board at its meeting Monday. After board approval, employees will begin receiving the added compensation on their next paycheck, officials said.

The union’s bargaining unit includes para-educators, custodians, clerical staff and food service employees.

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias