The case of the Pleasant Ridge Board of Education and the Pleasant Ridge Classroom Teachers Association (PRCTA) is to negotiate the teachers’ concerns and to determine the terms and conditions of the school’s teachers in the new contract. The two parties are bargaining to resolve the problems and to reach for good settlement. So, It is worthy to mention that collective bargaining outlines most of school districts’ education policy like how to allocate resources and assigning teachers to schools and classes. While bargaining is a district-level endeavor, it follows the state laws of collective bargaining. (Rotherham 2006, Collective Bargaining in Public Education)
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Also, the school costs are equally divided between salaries and plant, equipment, supplies, and reduction of attached obligation. 80% of the part allocated to salaries is paid to the instructional stuff represented by PRCTA. Moreover, the costs of non-wage are increasing in annual rate of 3%, which increase the burden of the other expenditures.
Based on the financial data given above, the school board of education takes the initial position in the bargaining by a possible increasing in teachers’ salaries by 2%. This payment rate is better than the market range rate of other comparable schools that pay about 5% less. The school cannot reduce the maximum class size from 30 to 25 students in each class, but 27 students in the class is the median elementary (K-6) class size. The school budget cannot handle more teachers’ employment for the time being. The granted tenure change from the sixth grade to the second year of teaching will cause harm to 50 teachers who are not members of PRCTA and not covered. It is difficult for the school to handle any staff reduction, because the school still have to pay for the tenured terminated teachers up to one-year’s pay.
Five percent (5%) salary increase is something that PRCTA can consider a reasonable settlement for the teachers’ requirements, because the school is paying batter than the market range in comparison with other similar schools that pay 5% below the market rate. The maximum class size reduction to 27 students instead of 30 is also a good choice. As the number of students goes down, the teacher’s payment will go less. In addition, considering the granting of tenure after the third year is a good settlement as it benefits the new teachers and causes no harm to other teachers.
If the school board and the PRCTA used the Interest based negotiation, which “is a method to get a tough job done in a way that settles the immediate problems and sets conditions for improved future working relationships”, they would have saved time. Win-win philosophy is a method to solve many problems and get a successful conclusion by working together. (Kearney 2009, 134)
If mediation failed to resolve the disagreement in the negotiation process, fact-finding is going to be the next step. “Fact-finding is a formal proceeding consisting of a quasi-judicial hearing by the neutral of both parties’ positions and evidence, a written record of the facts and events, and, in most cases, a written recommendations for settlement.” (Kearney 2009, 266) The main task of fact-finder is to decide on any set or mix of facts as more convincing. Fact finder shall hear both sides, collect data, and conduct a list of fair recommendation that acceptable to both parties. Furthermore, there are some criteria that fact-finder can use in recommending a settlement such as “ability to pay, cost-of-living and the nature of the local labor market.” (Kearney 2009, 267)
Based on the financial data of the school district, and the median of the market rate,...