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Oak Creek-Franklin teachers express concern over negotiation impasse

Nov. 5, 2013

Oak Creek — More than 70 teachers and residents attended Monday's School Board meeting, raising concerns about the future salary structure given failed negotiations.

Teachers and residents read from prepared statements calling for the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District to open up discussions and give teachers more respect.

A mediator on Oct. 17 declared the salary negotiations between the teacher's union and school district at an impasse. The district could impose its salary offer on the teachers at the Nov. 11 School Board meeting.

Superintendent Sara Burmeister said the district is attempting to increase starting wages for younger teachers this year. That means administrators have proposed larger increases for less-experienced teachers than veteran teachers.

"I understand some people feel it is unfair that some teachers are receiving a larger base-building increase this year compared to other teachers," Burmeister said in an email to NOW Newspapers. "Last year, all teachers received the same percent increase, and the union, while agreeing to this, criticized the district and board for not doing more for our newer, lower-paid teachers, pointing out the widening gap between the highest and lowest paid teachers."

She further pointed out that the district has offered wage increases above the Consumer Price Index each year since Act 10 restricted teacher bargaining abilities, is funding early retirement benefits, pays tuition reimbursement and has lowered healthcare insurance premiums.

Teachers union members, on the otherhand, said they feel unheard and locked out.

"To shut out the local association from the conversation and to implement, impose and implement is not the way to do it," Union President Terry Grogan said.

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