Española School District officials and members of the Española-National Education Association successfully negotiated a contract for the 2021-22 academic school year.

    The raises, stipends and increased health care costs total $378,670 and comes from the State Equalization Guarantee funding, which is calculated by the state, based on student population in the previous school year.

    Six managers represented the District. Six people, whose titles were not identified by the District represented teachers.

    Four points were addressed in negotiations. A press release by interim superintendent Vera Trujillo states the health insurance rates will increase 5.68 percent.

    In follow up questions Trujillo said the employer contribution rate will be higher for the lower earning staff.

    As an example she states, “An employee making under $15,000 is only expected to contribute 25 percent of the cost, with employer picking up the other 75 percent. The highest tier is for employees earning over $25K and are expected to contribute 40 percent of their own cost.”

    However, she also states the rate will drop from 25 percent to 20 percent for a lower paid employee.

    The total cost to the District for the health care negotiations was $215,000.

    The state legislature mandated a minimum pay increase of 1.5 percent for all employees. The District and the union agreed to a 5 percent increase for classified or educational support professionals. Support professionals work closely with teachers, Trujillo states in an email. Janitors, cooks and maintenance fall under classified also.

    Teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and ancillary staff will receive a 2.5 percent increase. Trujillo states this does not include administrators, who received the state mandated 1.5 percent.

    Part-time employees also received the raises based on their hourly rate.

    An increase in stipends was negotiated. Most stipends come from teachers and staff leading or helping with extra-curricular activities such as National Honor Society or student council sponsor.

    More activities are now covered by stipend payments, such as Graphic Design Club, E-sports coach, Science Fair and others.

    A one-time $600 compensation enhancement stipend will go to “all employees employed on the firt day of SY21-22 (School Year) and that work through the end of the semester will receive the enhancement,” Trujillo states in her email.

    This funding comes from the state’s Corona Virus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

    When asked how the payment didn’t qualify as a bonus, which got Albuquerque Public Schools in trouble last spring, Trujillo states the District spoke with the Public Education Department and legal counsel to ensure it met legal criteria.

    Sick Leave Bank rules were renegotiated and it is now possible for retiring employees to be paid for accumulated sick leave “in an amount and on a schedule as determined by the (School) Board,” she states.

    The retiring employee leaving mid-year must notify the District by March 1 of the school year in which they intend to retire to receive the sick leave pay.

    Certified staff may be paid $50 per day for unused sick leave, up to $5,000.

    Other employees will be paid $40 per day, up to $4,000.

    Employees may donate up to 20 days per year into the Sick Leave Bank, which provides participating employees paid leave in the event of a catastrophic illness.

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