Belle Plaine Teachers Seek Mediation
Friday, October, 23, 2015
The Belle Plaine School Board recently reached a tentative agreement concerning certain issues with the teachers’ union, but it was not enough to finalize any sort of agreement overall. The language issues have been resolved, but the remainder of the two-year contract and the debated financial issues will now be settled in negotiations.
A spokesperson for the teachers’ union told the negotiators the proposed 5.469 percent increase is not enough. The increase amounts to an additional $293,000 for the 2015/2016 school year and $295,400 for the 2016/2017 school year. The union would have the authority to allocate the increase as it chooses. The union has requested nearly double the amount offered for the upcoming school years and has stated 4% would be used to increase wages and fund additional education and experience. Four and a half percent would be used to increase the district’s health insurance contribution.
The spokesperson also stated that the school board and the union have reached agreement on many items in the contract related to language, but feel they have reached an impasse concerning financial issues. “We hope to resolve our monetary disparity through mediation” said the spokesperson.
District representative point out the district has made significant financial investments in technology and staff recently. They point to the purchase of iPads and the hiring of a full-time curriculum director and a newly appointed administrator position as a few examples.
Union representatives believe the state’s economy has improved in recent years and it is now time to undo some of the savings measures put in place over the last few years and to reward teachers.