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School board to meet on union pay

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The Rio Rancho school board will meet behind closed doors today in a special meeting to discuss the terms of compensation for more than 1,800 district employees who did not immediately get their raises last school year.

During the 2014-15 school year, the district gave all employees a 3 percent raise but members of the Rio Rancho School Employees’ Union bargaining unit did not immediately get a raise because the two sides were in a contract dispute.

Bargaining unit employees did not see an increase in their paychecks until December 2014, while other employees saw a wage increase starting July 1, 2014.

Rio Rancho Public Schools spokeswoman Beth Pendergrass said union and district officials have agreed upon terms for compensating the employees for the five months they worked without their 3 percent raises.

The agreement must be reviewed by the board, which will be done today in executive session because it pertains to personnel. Pendergrass said the details of the plan will be released in a joint statement from the district and the union.

“It’s not retroactive pay,” she said. “But a one-time compensation is being discussed.”

Union president Kimberly Allis said the union has agreed not to discuss the details until after the board meeting.

“The union is very excited that we have come to an agreement for the betterment of all staff involved in the district,” she said. “We are happy the employees of Rio Rancho Public Schools are getting what they deserve.”

The union represents not only teachers but other district staff, including bus drivers, custodians, maintenance and secretaries.

At today’s meeting, the board is also scheduled to approve the district’s “strategic planning framework.”

The document outlines how the district will go about planning for the next 20 years. It lists five steps the district will take in its planning. RRPS officials will evaluate where the district is today, what’s important for the future, what they want to achieve, who should be held accountable for that achievement and come up with ways to determine with they have reached their goals.

The board meets at 9:30 a.m. at 500 Laser Road NE.