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
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.