No contract deal reached for Sherrard School District

No deal was reached Wednesday, January 29, 2014, in an area school district as both the Sherrard Education Association and Sherrard Board of Education could not come to terms on a new contract.

The last contract expired in June 2013 and negotiations for a new one have been going on for months.

There was a crowd of parents and teachers at Sherrard High School before Wednesday night’s negotiation session that were in support of the Sherrard Education Association’s contract.

The big issue going in to the negotiations was a disagreement over the length of the contract.

The Sherrard Education Association’s final offer proposed a three year contract, the Sherrard Board of Education proposed a one year contract.

“It doesn’t make sense, to negotiate a one year contract when you’re already six months into the year. You’re going to turn around and renegotiate a contract again,” said Robert Wilson, lead negotiator for the union.

A memo from the Sherrard Board of Education said there are several reasons why the Board proposed a one year contract including: the hiring of a new superintendent and other administrators, the unknown financial impact of the Affordable Care Act, changes to the teachers Retirement System, and the district’s plan for a universal start time.

According to the memo, the district does not have enough buses or transportation employees to implement the universal start time. The Board is prohibited from hiring an outside party for duties already performed by employees during the term of a collective bargaining agreement.

Board President Leslie Anderson said the universal start time was filed as part of the District Improvement Plan sent to the State of Illinois.

“We know we’ve been asked to provide that. That’s something we’ve known for years so would we be willing to push that off for another three years? I don’t know,” said Anderson.

Wilson said they are concerned with how hiring outside work might impact current bus drivers and mechanics.

“The issue that we have is that they really haven’t given us all the information of what they want to do. We’ve been upfront with them and said that we don’t want the bus drivers or the mechanics to lose hours and wages as a result of the sub contracting,” said Wilson, “But any time we’ve asked them for information about how are they going to go about sub contracting, how is that going to affect those bus drivers and mechanics, they haven’t really given us a lot of detailed information, so we can’t bargain what we don’t know and that’s kind of been our issue with that.”

Wilson said the subcontracting issue was the sticking point during Wednesday night’s negations and said the Board wants to bargain the subcontracting issue separate from the rest of the contract.

Wilson said there are no more meetings scheduled to negotiate the full contract and the Sherrard Education Assocation will talk with the union about what to do next.

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