USD 259 Contract Negotiations To Resume

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UPDATE: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A spokeswoman for the Wichita school district said contract negotiations between U.S.D. 259 and the teachers union are expected to resume.

Wendy Johnson said a federal mediator will meet with district leaders and the United Teachers of Wichita on July 23.

The two side had previously reached an impasse over a contract dispute in May.

As part of the agreement with the federal mediator, all discussions have to be behind closed doors.

Monday, July 9, 2012

For the second time this summer, teachers lined 13th Street to rally outside the Board of Education meeting.

They were protesting the fact teachers' contract negotiations have still not reached an agreement. This comes after negotiations reached an impasse in May and a federal mediator was called in to help.

Teachers say they rallied again Monday because they feel like in the month since their last protest, their contracts aren't any closer to being resolved.

"It's very frustrating. It's concerning because we start school in a month and we don't have a contract," USD 259 Teacher Erica Penrose said.

About 150 teachers rallied together to let people passing by and the school board know they are not happy that contract negotiations have still not reached a resolution.

Some of the teachers we spoke with told us they feel that during negotiations, the school board was more concerned with changing teachers' dress codes and their lesson plans then they are with addressing educators' frozen salaries.

“Four years is enough,” Penrose said.

Superintendent John Allison told us, “The board has been committed very openly and publicly since January, they made some very tough decisions to compensate all their employees. All the employees in the district have not had a raise for four years.”

Board members could not discuss teacher contract negotiations at the meeting. As part of the agreement with the federal mediator, all discussions have to be behind closed doors.

Allison says even there's no resolution yet, that doesn't mean progress hasn't been made.

"Both sides want to want to reach an agreement and we'll get that accomplished. It's just going to take a little time,” Allison said.

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