BTC instructors' pay going up
Other major provisions of the 2008-11 contract between Blackhawk Tech and its faculty union:
-- A new "wellness incentive" to hold down premium payments for those who join the wellness program. The program will encourage preventive health measures and diet, fitness and educational activities. Those who choose the wellness program and the lowest-cost health plan will pay no additional premium.
-- A job-security provision requiring that if the administration is contemplating a layoff, it must first consider cuts to part-time staff and to the "overload" of teachers who are paid extra for teaching beyond the normal course load.
-- A $600 incentive for members who notify BTC at least six months before their retirement dates.
-- A new, more comprehensive system of faculty evaluation, assessment and goal-setting to replace classroom visits by supervisors. In the past, probationary employees were visited twice a year, and others were visited once.
-- Payment of all employees by direct deposit.
JANESVILLE Faculty members at Blackhawk Technical College will see salary increases of at least 3 percent this year and in each of the following two years.
The BTC Board unanimously approved the three-year contract Wednesday night. The Blackhawk Technical Faculty Federation, Local 2308, ratified the contract this week, said Brian Gohlke, BTC's human resources director.
The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2008. Gohlke said each cell on the salary schedule is increased by 3 percent this school year. The increase is 3.25 percent in each of the following two years.
A majority of BTC instructors have reached the end of the salary schedule, so they will see only the 3 and 3.25 percent increases, Gohlke.
Those still receiving additional pay for advancing one year on the schedule will see raises close to 4 percent, Gohlke said.
Some teachers will get additional raises granted when they reach certain milestones in college credits.
The average base salary for the 113 members of the bargaining unit this year will be $68,858, Gohlke said.
BTC Board Chairman Tom Westrick defended the contract when asked about the many local taxpayers who have been laid off recently or whose employers are not handing out any raises this year.
"Blackhawk has been through some very trying times this year with the explosion of enrollment. The faculty and the administration have done a very wonderful job dealing with that … and board felt it was a very acceptable increase," Westrick said this morning.
Gohlke also defended the raises.
First, the contract was tentatively agreed to in November, so the increases were based on last fall's economic situation, not those of today, Gohlke said.
Second, the faculty have been working extra hard to provide services to the influx of laid-off workers, Gohlke said.
Classes that might have had 15 to 20 students now are up to 20 or 30, Gohlke said. In addition, many of the new students need extra help to handle college classes, and some come with frustrations from being laid off, so staff members have to deal with all those issues.
"They've kicked it in gear pretty hard," Gohlke said, and productivity is up.
Any industry going through such a high-production period is likely to increase compensation, Gohlke said.
But he said BTC rightfully comes under more scrutiny because it's a public institution.
BTC has added 10 limited-term faculty members this year to deal with a big influx of students. Two were added in August and eight more in January.
BTC is sensitive to the economic realities, Gohlke insisted: "We do understand that there's been a lot of recent activity that's been very negative, detrimental, to our communities here in Rock and Green counties."
When benefits are added to the salary increases, the contract's cost to the district is a 4.97 percent increase this year, 4.9 percent in 2009-10 and 4.97 percent in 2010-11, Gohlke said.