By looking at the bumper stickers in the parking lot, it was obvious that two different perspectives would be brought forth at tonight's opening session of teacher negotiations at the ESC in West Bend. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange initial bargaining proposals. Governor Scott Walker had the support of a board member, shown by the bumper sticker on his car, while two cars of union reps sported, "Solidarity" and "Kathleen Falk for Governor", and "Recall Walker". Inside, the meeting was more cordial that not.
The School District proposed a 1.64% increase in pay, which is the maximum allowable to bargain for by law, spread equally across the board for teachers using the base wage rule calculations.
The Union's proposal was also a 1.64% increase, but they requested to have that amount spread out equally in dollar amount to all teaching staff and not a percent of their current wage. The negotiations team agreed to consider this request. The only exceptions to this proposed increase, according to Chief Operations Officer, Valley Elliehausen, would be those not being offered renewal of their contract (4) and those on another term of improvement plan (4).
The union reps had a prepared statement read that included citations to the poliltical environment in Wisconsin and "challenges" to teachers due to Act 10 in 2011-2012. Of concern to the union reps was the work load of teachers and frozen steps in pay increases. They stated they were "hopeful" that their goals were similar to the district's goals and acknowledged that they were, "seriously affected by Act 10, the administration and the Board's decisions. The union reps also stated they are opposed to merit pay because it "would decrease collaboration among teachers".
The Union asked the intent for the 2012-2013 school year. Randy Marquardt stated that only preliminary discussions have been made and the "whole system would not be thrown out". He further stated the structure would not be drastically different from what we have now.