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Local coverage of education issues, health care, and science and technology.

Union, School Board Reach Tentative Contract Agreement For Wichita Teachers

boe_teachers.jpg
Abigail Beckman
/
KMUW/File photo
Gina Brillhart, a Wichita teacher, speaks to Board of Education members about contract negotiations at a recent meeting.

After months of contention, the local teachers' union and the USD 259 school board have come to a tentative contract agreement for the 2016-17 school year.

The contract contains a compensation package increasing the board of educations monetary contribution by 3.98 percent. Details of the tentative agreement include:

  • One step (for years of experience) and track movement (for additional education);
  • a $500 one-time payment for all teachers except those eligible for longevity movement;
  • for teachers eligible for longevity movement, a one-time payment based on where the teacher should be placed on longevity;
  • additional $100 BOE contribution to the employee health plan, from $590 to $690 per month.

If the contract is ratified, teachers will receive the following on their November paycheck:

  • step movement track movement if submitted to human resources by Oct. 21,
  • and a one-time payment amount ($500 or one-time longevity movement equivalent)

In separate press releases, both the Board of Education and the union referenced the upcoming general election on Nov. 8 as their next focus.

"Everyone who cares not only about public education, but health care, transportation, and honest, transparent governance, needs to be actively involved in pouring their energy into the upcoming elections at the local and state levels," Steve Wentz, president of United Teachers of Wichita, said in the press release.

Wentz called for the next 31 days to be "an all-out blitz to assist in electing pragmatic Kansans to office."

Sheril Logan, president of the Board of Education, praised local teachers and said she was thankful the groups finally reached a consensus.

"We wish we could give them more, but the current budget situation doesn't allow that," Logan said in the release. “The way to fix the lack of funding for public education is to vote in November for candidates who believe in our teachers and our students as much as we do.”

Their statements come in the midst of legislative battles over whether state funding does in fact need to increase, or if the money that is already there is adequate and should be spent more efficiently.

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Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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