December 3, 2009

Teachers, board remain at stalemate

Teachers, board remain at stalemate

If there were an endurance test, both teachers and the Garrison school board would sweep it.
Both sides remained deadlocked Monday evening during another round of negotiations where the Garrison school district remains the only one in the state without contracts for the 2009-2010 school year.
Teachers currently are being paid at last year’s wage and the board remains publicly silent while paying a negotiator to lead talks.
Teachers requested a meeting Monday evening and were warned by Gary Thune, the board’s negotiator, to come with a new proposal.
The proposal the teachers offered was to agree to all but the one unresolved point.
Teacher Cory Volk said, “We are very happy we are in agreement on 1-5. We can’t give in on number 6. Number six is kind of a big deal.” The number six he was referring to allows the board to issue contracts without the signed permission of the Garrison Education Association, the point the board won’t budge on.
Lori Betz, another negotiator, said the contract has called for the signed consent of the teachers for at least the past 28 years. Thune argued that the state law allows the board to issue contracts without the teacher’s signed permission; he said there are “precious few” districts in the state that still have the language that Garrison currently has.
Teachers want a dialogue with board members, instead of Thune. Teacher Collette Gehring said she teaches her students to resolve conflict by talking out their differences. She said the teachers want to have direct input from the board.
“The missing piece to this is the lack of GEA and the board sharing their feelings,” she said. She said the teachers want “an even playing field without bullying.”

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