Contract Negotiations

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On Monday night, the school board did ratify the contract teachers approved last week, but not before some acrimonious words were exchanged.

United Teachers of Wichita President Barb Fuller says Wichita teachers were misled about how much money Wichita schools had when negotiating with teachers.

Fuller says, "The union kept telling teachers and so did the district, that times were rough. The legislature had no new money for schools."

But school board members took offense at the notion teachers were misled by the board over the nearly five million dollars in cuts made to the budget late last month. Cuts board members say will help restore some teaching positions.

School Board Vice President Lynn Rogers says, "To say that the board suddenly found 4.9 million dollars is disgusting and flat wrong. There's no new money in this budget and you know that, Mrs. Fuller."

Rogers went further in laying the blame of any misleading of teachers on the teacher's union, "I'm concerned that the teachers of this district have not been looked out for. But I would venture to say they need to look at the union leadership first."

More teachers than usual were in attendance Monday night, some showing frustration with what they heard.

Superintendent Winston Brooks says, "It's too bad this has to be such a divisive issue at the beginning of the school year when we're trying to make sure everyone gets on the same page."

Teachers applauded in support of their union leadership as they left the meeting.

Larry Peters, a teacher at Southeast High says, "It's just extremely disappointing. All teachers felt they weren't honest with us."

In the end, the school board ratified the one-year contract.

Also tonight, board members vote to make changes to the way local schools give assessment tests. Wichita will replace its own writing assessment for eighth graders in favor of one made by the state.

Wichita schools are also going to study an alternative to a high school reading assessment to measure student performance.


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