Janesville teacher contract talks on track
Teams from the Janesville Education Association and school board had planned to meet for two hours but met for nearly three hours Monday night, according to a joint news release.
"A lot of constructive things are going on," JEA chief negotiator Jim Reif said afterward. "We're looking to keep moving forward. It was a productive evening."
It's clear, however, that teachers will begin the new school year without a new contract. The two sides set future negotiating dates of Sept. 9, Sept. 16, Oct. 7 and Oct. 19.
Monday, the two sides agreed to form a committee to study all "co-curricular" assignments, which include coaching and clubs and other after-school activities that teachers oversee.
As far as anyone can remember, it's been more than 10 years since co-curricular assignments were reviewed, Reif said. Examining those positions—and the pay that some of them receive—was one of the JEA's proposals when negotiations opened in May.
The JEA team also raised a concern about the "standards of professional behavior" that the school board recently approved and signed. Rumor had it that teachers would be asked to sign the standards, but negotiators for the school board said that was not the case, Reif said.
The standards are a working document, and teachers will have input into their revision, Reif said.
"We didn't want members to feel pressured to sign it before they had time to examine it," Reif said. "And we were very encouraged to hear that it's a working document and our input will be valued."
The standards are posted online at www.gazettextra
Reif said the JEA is looking for members who will volunteer both on the co-curricular review committee and the district's committee on standards of behavior.
Reif said progress is being made on other fronts, including requirements for teacher training, or professional development.
Superintendent Karen Schulte could not be reached for comment Monday night.
Negotiators did not touch on economic issues Monday. Everyone is waiting until later in the fall when more will be known about the district's budget, Reif said.
"Both sides look forward to continuing positive discussions of the issues," according to the joint statement.