Tonganoxie The Tonganoxie School Board and its teachers will meet with a fact finder at 3:30 p.m. Monday in an attempt to reach a contract agreement for this school year.
The board and its teachers have been at a contract standoff since June and so far have exhausted all contract negotiations offered by state statutes. Fact finding is the final step in the negotiation process.
Charles Krider, associate dean of Kansas University's School of Business, was appointed by the Kansas Department of Human Resources to meet with the two groups and try to bring them together on a contract.
During the fact-finding procedure, the school board and the teachers each present reasons for rejecting the other's proposals. The presentations can be made orally or in writing.
The fact finder studies the cases and then submits to the state and both groups a final report stating with which points of each group's argument he agrees. He then makes a recommendation on how the groups can solve their differences based on his findings.
The two groups meet again and, using the fact finder's report, try to strike an agreement.
The fact finder's recommendation is not binding, however.
If either side rejects the recommendation, the school board can, under law, offer the teachers unilateral contracts, which the board draws up and the teachers must accept.
The two groups were unable to reach a contract agreement for this school year during earlier negotiations and declared impasse June 24. A mediator was assigned to settle the dispute, but was unsuccessful.
The board's last offer was a 4.29 percent salary increase this year and raises totaling 11 percent over the next two years, depending on the district's budget situation. But the teachers are asking for an 8 percent raise this year and raises over the next two years that are guaranteed and not dependent on the district's budget condition.