UPDATE -- A strike could be looming in the North Boone School District. Union members and the school board met again Monday night for another bargaining session with a federal mediator and we're told by union members that little progress was made.
After rallying again Monday night, we're learning more about concern from the North Boone Education Association regarding district contract proposals. Union members oppose what they're calling "merit pay," where teacher raises are based on performance; excellent teachers would see an $1,800 increase, proficient teachers would get $1,000 and if an educator needs improvement, then no raise.
NBEA President Kelly Hanaman said, "This just pits teachers against each other because 'I want to be the excellent one, I want that number 1 raise, I don't want to be proficient,' and so it really creates competitiveness between us."
Hanaman says the district's proposal would also make it take longer for new teachers to make more money.
"I just fear new teachers are going to look at the district and use it as a training ground, come to the district work for a few years and look for something else," said Rob Ullrich, a seventh grade social studies teacher.
What union members do want is "just cause," where they can challenge a decision when they say a teacher is disciplined without good reason, but school leaders say the union already has a lot of protection.
"Those protections give the teachers rights and opportunities to grieve a dismissal or discipline cause and that's been adequate for many, many years," explained School Board President Don Ward.
The union declared an impasse on January 30th, so once their final offers are made public, the union can strike 14 days later. In a survey last week, most members did authorize a strike date although one has not yet been set. The next bargaining session is set for March 5th.
The district says the union is asking for a 1.5% base salary increase, plus an automatic 3% increase called a "step."
BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) – More than 100 teachers in the North Boone School District are moving closer to a strike.
Dozens of teachers with the North Boone Education Association have packed into church before tonight’s bargaining session to rally. There’s obviously some frustration as they’ve been working without a new contract since June.
Speakers are talking about the outstanding issues they say both parties can’t seem to agree upon. Merit pay where teacher raises would be based on performance and a two-tier salary scheduled for new hires. That means, new teachers won’t be able to make as much as current teachers. The union also wants “just cause,” where they can challenge a decision when a teacher is disciplined without good reason.
On Thursday, most of the union gave their bargaining team the okay to set a strike date, however a strike has not been called yet.
Mediation with the school board and a federal mediator is expected to begin at 6:00 Monday night. We’ll continue to update you on any progress made.