School board, union settle pension claim

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PROSPECT — The Region 16 Board of Education and the union representing some non-certified personnel have agreed to a settlement over pension contributions.

According to a memorandum of agreement between the board and the Union Public Service Employees Union, Local 424-Unit 46, the board will pay pension contributions to members of the union who are still employed with the district and issue a check to those who are not. The payments will be made in January. In total, nearly $15,000 will be divided among 108 people based on hours worked.

The agreement settles a dispute that dates back to last December over unpaid pension contributions. Superintendent of Schools Tim James said at the time the two sides were undergoing collective bargaining. As part of negotiations, a change was agreed to move pensions from a defined contribution plan to a defined benefit plan for some members of the union. The change was to begin on Dec. 21, 2011, but occurred earlier.

The union claimed the 108 members were denied pension contributions between Nov. 19, 2011 and Dec. 17, 2011 and entitled to unpaid pension contributions.

The board does not accept the claim in the agreement, which states “the board and the union acknowledge that certain members of the union may have been denied pensions contributions…” The settlement avoids litigation in the matter.

The board approved the agreement at its Nov. 28 meeting. The union approved the agreement the same week.