November 19, 2009

‘Impasse has no end in sight’

‘Impasse has no end in sight’
Garrison one of two districts in state yet to settle
By JILL DENNING GACKLE

Garrison School Board members won’t settle with teachers on this year’s contract for fear that they’ll be sued. Teachers, though, say they never said they are ready with a lawsuit.
Gary Thune, the lawyer and spokesman for the board, said during a meeting Monday evening that fear of a lawsuit is the board’s sticking point.
Thune, who spoke for three silent school board committee members – Jerry Sayler, Steve Seidler and Daryl Engel – said, “We are at an impasse and the impasse has no end in sight.”
He said that the results of a fact-finding group determined that the teachers and board were in agreement on all points but one: when contracts may be issued.
“It’s reasonable to the fact finding commission, it’s reasonable to the board. I don’t see us reaching an agreement,” he said in saying time and again that the board was not going to agree to issue contracts until teachers agreed to the terms of the contract.
A 1969 state law allows contracts to be issued when the board determines negotiations are complete. Speaking for the teachers, Dan Splichal noted instructors want to negotiate as they have in the past: where once an agreement is reached, both sides sign off and contracts are then issued. Also at the table for the teachers were Lori Betz and Collette Gehring, although at the meeting a roomful of teachers was listening.
Splichal said, “How many people would sign a contract without all the details in place? It puts us on an even playing field. It is state law, but state law is flawed.”
Thune countered


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