After months of negotiations, the Sherrard School Board and Sherrard Education Association have not made an agreement on a contract.
“We’re not anywhere near a deal,” said Robert Wilson, the lead negotiator for the Sherrard Education Assocation.
“We’ve really come to the middle on every issue, it really has to come from them,” he added.
School Board President Leslie Anderson said in a phone interview Thursday, January 30, 2014, that the two sides have agreed on 17 different issues and that the Board has also come to the middle.
“It takes two parties to negotiate at this point,” said Anderson.
Wilson says there are several small issues, but the big one has to deal with the contract length. The Sherrard Education Association wants a three year contract, while the Sherrard School Board wants a one year contract.
The School Board listed four reasons for why they wanted a one year contract in a memo. The reasons include plans to implement a universal start time for all schools in the Sherrard district.
In addition to keeping current employees to help with the transportation of students, the district would need to have additional help. According to a memo sent January 29, 2013, the Board is prohibited from hiring an outside party for duties already performed by employees during the term of a collective bargaining agreement.
Wilson says the Sherrard Education Association is concerned with how having outside help would impact current employees hours, wages, and retirement.
While there are several disagreements, both sides agree that the ongoing negotiations are not benefiting the kids.
“Students are being impacted. Teachers are being distracted,” said Anderson.
“It’s not what’s best for students, it’s not what’s best for teachers and the community is even behind us, it’s not what’s best for them,” said Wilson.
Some parents also agree.
“I just feel that it hurts everybody in the process because the teachers are worried about whether they’re going have a job tomorrow to come to so their main focus isn’t on the kids like it should be. That makes it tough for all of them,” said Jason Moon.
Anderson says the School Board will meet to discuss the transportation situation on February 6, 2014.
The Sherrard Education Association will meet with the union on February 9, 2014 to discuss whether or not they will vote on their intent to strike.