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The Mary E. Devin Center for Education Support at 123 N. Eisenhower Drive.

District, JCEA work toward consensus on contracts

Though teacher contract negotiations have sometimes been fraught with

peril, Unified School District 475 and the Junction City Education

Association (JCEA) came together last year with a different plan in

mind.

They chose to use interest-based bargaining (IBB) to hash out

contracts for USD 475’s educators.

The system focuses on both sides working toward a common goal as

opposed to seeing each other as the enemy and fighting for every scrap

of a concession they can grab from the other side while refusing to

budge an inch.

Last year’s contracts were put together swiftly and easily, so they

decided to do the same thing this year.

So far, this year’s negotiations have been relatively painless. It

hasn’t gone quite as quickly as last year, but the two sides are

making some headway.

“We formed two committees to look over our discipline policy and

appraisal policy,” Fort Riley Middle School math teacher and JCEA

board member Pam Ricard said.

The appraisal policy deals with teacher evaluation and the discipline

policy pertains to how the district deals with teachers who may be in

need of discipline.

The committees will report back to USD 475 and the JCEA by July 1 of this year.

According to Board of Education member Brian Field who is representing

USD 475 in this year’s negotiations, the two sides came to an

agreement on the length of the school day for teachers — seven hours

and 50 minutes.

“The elementraies were already there, we just had to get the

secondaries to that,” he said.

The two sides also talked about the language used in teacher sick

leave policies, general leave, and personal leave according to Field.

It needs to be clarified.

There’s still more to decide before the 2018-’19 teacher contracts are

officially laid out. The state’s budget will have an impact on the

district and it’s still being worked out.

Legislators in Topeka will return to work in the coming weeks to try

to craft a school funding formula that will satisfy the Kansas Supreme

Court’s March ruling that current funding was unconstitutional.

No matter what’s decided now, the district and the JCEA will still

have come back in July after everyone knows more about what USD 475 is

going to be contending with next school year.

More discussion will take place May 2.

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