The teacher’s union for SMSD educators, NEA-Shawnee Mission, approved a new contract for teachers for the 2016-2017 school year on Friday. The acceptance of the new contract followed two mediation meetings held on Sept. 6 and Oct. 6 after the SMSD and NEA – Shawnee Mission declared impasse in July.
The contract, proposed on Oct. 10 by the school board, provided a pay raise to the 2,000 teachers in the district. Teachers with bachelor’s degrees will receive a $1,025 stipend and teachers with a master’s degree will receive a $1,375 stipend. Teachers will also receive $17 more per month to cover medical costs.
According to NEA-Shawnee Mission president Linda Sieck, teachers understand the difficult financial situation the state is experiencing and hope that a new school finance formula, the budget passed for public schools by the state of Kansas, will address the funding issues for Shawnee Mission. If and when that happens, she said, teachers will watch and see if any new money is put on the salary schedule. For now, however, both sides are happy to have compromised.
“Both sides are pleased that we were able to come to an agreement,” Sieck said. “The contract vote was not close – it passed with a healthy majority.”
Dr. Kenny Southwick, Deputy Superintendent for the SMSD, echoed the Sieck’s sentiment.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement on a contract with our teachers,” Southwick said. “Discussions during the negotiations and mediation process were productive and resulted in an agreement that was approved by the board of education and the teachers.”