Spoon River College Board Approves Faculty-Ratified Contract

CANTON – The Spoon River College Board of Trustees approved a new four-year contract with the College’s Faculty Association (SRCFA) at the regular board meeting held Wednesday night. SRCFA members ratified the agreement earlier this month.

“This contract is fair and equitable, while considering today’s economic realities in higher education,” said Kay Norton, SRCFA president. “We are pleased to have a contract that reflects support and respect from our College.” Norton served on the Bargaining Team with colleagues Angie Conklin, Todd Thompson and Bob Zellmann, as well as SRC President Curt Oldfield and Director of Human Resources Michelle Bugos.

President Curt Oldfield said the contract maintains the integrity of the College’s budget, while providing incentives that will continue to attract and retain quality instructors. “Our students deserve the most qualified, engaged faculty available to the College,” said Oldfield, who was once an agriculture instructor on the Canton SRC campus. “We believe this contract allows us to preserve our continued tradition of quality instructors.”

The contract calls for a stepped salary increase for the next four years: 2.75 percent increase the first year, 3.0 percent the second year, 3.10 percent the third year, and 3.25 percent the fourth year.

In addition, faculty members will participate in a newly formed College Insurance Committee, along with representatives from SRC Administration, Classified Staff and Professional Support Staff. This committee will be tasked with researching and considering possible alternatives to the present health insurance plan. In the meantime, the present insurance plan will remain unchanged. And faculty also will have the possibility of further increasing their salary with an incentive plan tied to student recruitment activities that may result in increased enrollment.

The negotiations were conducted using “Interest-Based Bargaining,” which uses a problem-solving team approach rather than opposing sides presenting proposals and making demands.

“The result is a contract that is developed from researched data and transparency of information, in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” said Norton. “There are no ‘sides’ in IBB…no contentious confrontations. Just professionals sharing ideas in an organized manner, establishing and focusing on common goals.”

“These innovative contractual components are examples of the collaborative effort that was exhibited in the bargaining sessions with faculty, as well as Classified Staff,” added Oldfield. “We will be using this practice of team problem solving in many other areas of the College, I am sure.”

The faculty contract takes effect Aug. 21, 2014, and will be posted in its entirety on the college web site, www.src.edu.