Rapid City Area Teachers Headed to Mediation
Thursday, October, 4, 2018
Rapid City Area Teachers and members of the school board are headed to mediation to resolve their ongoing contract dispute. It has been just a year since the same occurred in the school district. In 2017, teachers and paraprofessionals spent a portion of the school year in negotiations because they had failed to reach a settled contract before the school year began and the same is occurring now.
Union members and the school district have made some headway into negotiations but there remains one point of contention salaries.
Speaking on behalf of teachers in the district, Dana Livermont, Vice President of the Rapid City Educators Association, stated the district has offered a one-time salary bonus this year, but that does not carry into future school years. Union members are demanding the district fund the salary schedule created two year ago, but there has been a freeze on salary increases in recent years that is affecting teachers and school staff.
Livermont reports negotiations are behind schedule and she is hoping there is an agreement reached soon. She stated, "We passed the timeline we had last year. We had gone through the mediation process during the summer last year and we haven't even met yet this year. So we are actually farther behind than we were last year. I am confident and optimistic we can make agreements during mediation. And then we will not have to use the Department of Labor for fact finding, which is when we go to Pierre and plead our case before a judge there."
Two mediation sessions are scheduled, the first of which will take place between the district and paraprofessionals, with the teachers and district meeting approximately a week later.