Custodians, cooks settle contracts

The Princeton School District has settled contracts with two of its bargaining units.

The school board has ratified contracts with the Princeton Custodians Association and the Princeton Food Service employees.

But not all school board members were in agreement with the contracts. Board members Craig Johnson and Eric Minks did not support the contracts, but for reasons other than what you might think.

Johnson said he voted against approving the two contracts because he feels the custodians and food service employees are receiving compensation packages that are less than what he believes the employees deserve. Minks echoed Johnson’s opinion. Both contracts passed on 3-2 votes, with Kathy Kraft, Jim Gibbs and Dennis Dehn voting in favor of the contracts. Recently-appointed board member Jeremy Miller, who was attending his first meeting, abstained from voting because he was not a board member at the time of negotiations.

Under both contracts, the custodians and food service employees will receive 1.5 percent wage increases during both the first and second years of the contract, which run through the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Both parties had been working under the terms of a contract that had expired at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

The custodians are receiving a $150 allowance for shoes payable after their probationary period expires. Custodians will receive a higher rate of pay if put on a temporary assignment if the assignment exceeds four days.

Licensure language was also modified to require the high school lead custodian to hold a chief license, night leads a minimum of a second class license and day leads to hold licenses that meet school district requirements. The contract also states that custodians who work the second or third shift serving jury duty do not have to work their shifts if they served a full day of jury duty.

The new contract results in a 2.43 percent increase in year one and a 2.42 percent increase in year two when benefit increases like contributions to Public Employees Retirement Association, FICA and long-term disability are figured in. The increases reflected in the contract are valued at $53,628 over the two years of the contract.

The food service employees, in addition to the annual 1.5 percent pay increase, will see a $25 annual increase in their uniform expenses from $150 to $175. A 20-year employee will receive a $0.25 per hour pay increase.

Here are some other changes in the food service contract: Part-time employees will now be eligible for two paid days off in the case of a death or serious illness of an immediate family member and secondary school head cooks will receive a $0.30 per hour pay increase.

The new contract results in 3.23 percent increase in year one and a 2.39 percent increase in year two when benefit increases like contributions to Public Employees Retirement Association, FICA and long-term disability are figured in.  The increases reflected in the contract are valued at $19,994 over the two years of the contract.

The school district is still in negotiations with teachers, paraprofessionals and secretarial staff, Superintendent Rick Lahn said.

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