In July of 2008, House Bill 1436 passed, with Governor Lynch's approval. This bill was called the Evergreen Law, guaranteeing that collectively bargained salary schedules continue in full force at the expiration of the current contract until a new contract is negotiated. Teachers are assured that incremental movement (steps) on salary schedules, which recognize years of experience and attainment of educational credits, will be treated the same way that negotiated benefits have been treated in the past. Under the new law, members are entitled to be paid for additional years of experience in the district and attainment of credits even if a new contract is not in place and until the ratification of a successor agreement is reached. The law becomes effective with the ratification of the first new contract negotiated following the law's passage.
1. What is the Evergreen Law?
If a contract expires before the voters approve a successor agreement, the Evergreen Law provides that employees will continue to be paid pursuant to the salary schedule in the expired contract. Specifically, step increases for years of experience and educational credits will continue to be paid even in the absence of a successor agreement.
2. Does the salary schedule increase under the Evergreen Law?
No, employees are paid only according to the old salary schedule in the expired contract. This salary schedule was approved by voters and will continue until a new salary schedule is approved by voters. Therefore, there are no adjustments to the salary schedule under Evergreen.
3. Are Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) continued in the Evergreen Law?
No, if the expired contract provided for COLA's, they are not continued under Evergreen. COLA's are not a step increase, but rather an adjustment to the salary schedule and therefore must be negotiated.
4. Do any other benefits continue under an expired contract?
Yes, the law already provides that health benefits, sick leave, life insurance, and personal days are some of the benefits that currently continue after the contract expires. This law extends on-going benefits status to step increases.
5. Will voters ever vote on a new salary schedule?
Yes, by law, the voters must approve newly negotiated agreements. Changes to the salary schedule will only occur with voter approval.
6. Does the Evergreen Law prevent longevity payments?
There is nothing in the law that would prevent an employer from including payment of longevity in the absence of a successor agreement, as some currently do.
Recently, this new law is being challenged in the House of Representatives.