Janesville61.5°

Teachers to work contract

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 19, 2007

Janesville teachers are stepping up the pressure in their contract dispute with the school board, and students will miss educational extras as a result.


The Janesville Education Association has asked its members to start “working the contract.” This tactic involves working only the required work hours, 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., said JEA president Dave Parr.


Parr said before- and after-school clubs and activities would have to be suspended until the protest ends. Students who have been able to see their teachers outside of the regular workday will no longer be able to do so, at least for those teachers who agree to their union’s request.


Teachers also are asked to decline to participate in any activity outside the regular workday that isn’t compensated at the hourly rate, Parr said. Teachers are sometimes paid stipends or lower rates for various activities, including presenting in-service sessions or attending training, Parr said.


Each Friday, teachers are asked to wear red and to assemble outside of their schools in the morning, entering together at 7:45 a.m. That happened at every school this morning, Parr said.


“We’re hoping to bring the school district back to the table,” Parr said.


Parr said he met with Superintendent Tom Evert last Friday and suggested the two sides get together every two days until they settle the contract.


The two sides have disagreed on who made the last contract offer, but Parr said he is willing to ignore that and asked Evert to supply a statement of where the district believes the negotiations stand.


Parr said he doesn’t understand why the district hasn’t responded to his suggestions.


Evert said Parr had several ideas for restarting the negotiations, and he asked Parr to make a proposal on paper, and he has not seen anything yet. Evert has turned the matter over to the board’s chief negotiator, attorney Mike Julka.


“But I’m very interested in the details once he provides them,” Evert said. “I’m interested in what format or what model he has in mind or what new proposal the JEA has since our session in September.”


As for the latest job action, Evert said: “Certainly, (it is) JEA’s right to make their opinion known, however they choose to do so. It’s within their legal right. JEA leadership will have to answer how it may or may not affect children.”


Meanwhile, the two sides have not yet agreed for a date to begin meeting with a state mediator, Parr said.


The union began the school year by asking teachers not to volunteer for any committee assignments or other jobs that were not compensated. They also staged a demonstration at the Oct. 9 school board meeting.


Teachers have been working under the terms of their expired contract since the school year began.



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