USD 259, Wichita Teachers Reach Tentative Contract

By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email
By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email

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Sept. 17, 2009

Wichita teachers could finally have a new contract. After months of negotiations, the teachers union and the school district have reached a tentative agreement.

It was just last month that Wichita teachers voted down a contract offer. Both sides think the new deal could pass even though they're not all that satisfied.

"Are we happy about it? Well, I don't think either side is really thrilled to death," said United Teachers of Wichita Union President Larry Landwehr.

Still, Landwehr joins with the superintendent and USD 259 board president to announce what they call the best deal they can come up with.

"We're glad this has hopefully ended and I believe it has," said Board President Barbara Fuller.

The deal was reached after both sides compromised on the one big sticking point of teacher's time on the clock. To balance out no pay raise, teachers wanted to get rid of additional meeting time outside the classroom. The district finally agreed to cut that time in half.

"When you don't have money, you kind of give us something else and that's what we came up with," said Landwehr.

The two year contract also includes salary freezes and one fewer day for teachers to work a year. A key for the school board is the contracts length. Set salaries will help tremendously come budget time.

Most of all, both sides are just glad negotiations are over.

"There was a common thread between both teams as they negotiated trying to find a resolution so we can all get back to being able to focus on why we're here and that's educating 50,000 students," said Superintendent John Allison.

Teachers now have to vote on the contract. That will happen within the next two weeks.

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