Nampa School District, NEA finally reach contract agreement

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - It's taken eight months, but the Nampa School District and the Nampa Education Association have agreed on a contract for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Nampa Board of Trustees unanimously approved the contract Tuesday, after NEA members unanimously agreed on the terms in late January.

"It's always good to be able to agree on how to move forward," district spokeswoman Allison Westfall said. "We have that resolution and that agreement for this year so we can put that to bed and begin to focus on next year."

"It's really nice to be able to take a breath and realize that we have it all figured out," Nampa Education Association President Jaimee Hoesing said.

But the process was stalled several times along the way. Both sides tell me negotiations slowed after school started back up in August, and that things like furlough days caused hiccups and slowdowns.

"It has not been easy for teachers to take these cuts," Hoesing said. "That's been the hardest part is that in order to balance this budget, a lot of it was done on the backs of employees."

Thanks to some one time money that came in from the state, teachers will now have 13 furlough days instead of 14.

However, it took time for the district and the NEA to decide how to spend that money. Ultimately, teachers will get back some professional development time that they lost last year while the district tried to balance the budget.

"We had had to cut that this spring so we had that come back and teachers are looking at the Common Core new data and how to improve instruction to help kids reach those new standards," Westfall said.

Both sides say they're happy with this contract, and believe it's a good one. However, Hoesing says she wishes students would be able to see a benefit from it. When KBOI asked her what the benefits are that she believe students would see coming out of the new contract, she gave a long pause.

"You know, honestly there isn't much (benefit)," Hoesing said. "For our kids we need to pass this levy, and we need to move on to next year because honestly I feel like they got really shorted because of this and I feel like there hasn't been a lot of positive for them."

The Nampa School District and the Nampa Education Association will begin working on a contract for the 2014-2015 school year next week.