Lawrence school district, teachers union make progress during 7-hour mediation, but don’t reach agreement
photo by: Nick Krug
Negotiating teams with the Lawrence school district and the district teachers union spent seven hours with a federal mediator Monday but were unable to reach agreement on a 2018-2019 contract for teachers.
The district and Lawrence Education Association have been at impasse since August over wages and issues involving staffing and teacher input in classroom suspensions. The union is asking for a $1,600 increase in the district base salary for first-year, inexperienced teachers and for step raises for years of service and additional education. The school board has offered a $500 salary increase.
Dave Cunningham, district legal counsel and executive director of human resources, said progress was made Monday, but that the two sides remain in mediation. The district negotiating team will meet in executive session with the Lawrence school board at its meeting Monday, Nov. 26, to discuss items developed from the mediation session.
Cunningham anticipated the board would make decisions that would then be shared Tuesday, Nov. 27, with union negotiators. The union negotiators could then choose to take an agreement based on the board decisions to its membership for ratification, ask for another mediation session or release the mediator and continue to the next step of the process, he said.
The next step would be engaging a fact-finder from a list that the Kansas Department of Labor provides. The fact-finder would listen to presentations from both sides before making a recommendation.