February 19, 2009

Committee recommends third party for teacher negotiations

Committee recommends third party for teacher negotiations
If Garrison School Board officials agree, a third party will be used to negotiate a contract between the board and Garrison Teachers Association (GEA).
During a meeting of the Negotiations Committee prior to the regular board meeting Tuesday night, Daryl Engel, member of the committee, recommend that the district use the services of Gary Thune to conduct negotiations when GEA’s contracts come up for renewal this spring. Thune is legal counsel for the North Dakota School Board Association and Administrators.
“I think he can help us cut through the issues a little quicker,” Engel told fellow committee members Steve Seidler and Jerry Sayler.
Engel said he would like Thune to act as a go-between between the board and teachers association.
“It should speed up the process,” he told the committee. “I think he can help us.”
Seidler and Sayler agreed that utilizing Thune could be beneficial for both parties.
“He can cut through a lot of the conversation,” Engel told the others. “It keeps relations better … I think it’s the best way to do it.
“I also think it would be better for morale of the board,” he added.
This is thought to be the first time that the Garrison School District has considered using Thune’s services.
Sitting in on the meeting, Superintendent Steve Brannan agreed, saying he is optimistic that Thune’s services would be beneficial.
Brannan told committee members the teachers are very well represented and well versed.
“They have a negotiated master agreement that’s second to none,” he said.
The cost of Thune’s services is unknown. That information will be presented at a future meeting prior to the board making a final decision.
At the conclusion of the regular meeting, the board went into executive session regarding negotiations. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss strategy, school officials said.
In other business, Elementary Principal Shelly Fuller shared that the representative for the Artist in Residency program has returned and will be at the school for the coming week. The residency will culminate with a community performance Feb. 27.

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