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CEDAR FALLS — Raises approved this week for three Central Rivers Area Education Agency employee groups made adjustments for insurance changes and how wages compare to similar jobs in the market.

The Board of Directors approved two-year agreements for administrators as well as union and nonunion support staff, all of which take effect July 1.

Both administrators and nonunion support staff will receive salary increases of 2 percent the first year and 1.7 percent the second year. Union support staff, represented by the Communication Workers of America Local 7170, will receive a 5.97 percent wage increase the first year and 1.3 percent the following year.

A total of 21 people are part of the administrative staff, which includes regional administrators and directors. Current salaries range from $58,476 to $199,399 for Chief Administrator Sam Miller.

His total compensation will grow to $216,530, with $2,454 in salary and $14,678 in benefits. The benefit increase equals the value of Miller’s family insurance.

Earlier this year, a committee worked on health insurance changes since state law no longer allows for bargaining on the topic. Changes were made to plan designs and deductibles were increased. The premium savings from the insurance changes are being redistributed as supplemental wages to all current agency employees who are not retiring this year.

As part of the changes, all employees will receive the same insurance benefits and offerings. Central Rivers spokeswoman Beth Strike said the deduction of any insurance offerings and costs was offset by increasing salaries at the same rate.

The Communication Workers contract covers 109 staff in numerous job categories with titles such as educational assistant, secretary, clerk, technician, specialist, speech-language pathology assistant, bus or van driver, cook, audiometrist, interpreter aide, coordinator, custodian, print shop operator, certified occupational therapy assistant and special school nurse. Currently, salaries range from $11.17 to $28.10 per hour.

In a board memo, officials called next year’s nearly 6 percent raise “a big commitment in helping ensure this group is compensated at the correct level” after a human resources review concluded many of the wages were below similar jobs in the market. “It also raises the beginning rates to be more competitive in an effort to insure both quantity and quality of applicant pools.”

The 44 nonunion support staff include those working in the business office and human resources, technology specialists and other technical support positions. Currently, annual salaries in the group range from $16,555 to $122,666. Ten employees are receiving market adjustments to their salaries.

The agency’s total increase for all three groups is estimated to cost $350,569 for 2018-19 and $172,581 in 2019-20.

In other business, the board committed funds related to the sale of the AEA’s former office and the purchase of its current one. Funds from the sale of the former office and their investment have been increased to $674,192 after earning $10,052 in interest during the past year. The board also set aside $150,000 of its fund balance that can be used in 2023 toward an early pay-off of the lease-purchase agreement for the agency’s current office.

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Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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