Update: Tuesday, March 11 2:22 p.m.
ABC 10 received a statement from MAPS School Board President Rich Rossway via email on the ongoing contract negotiations:
“We look forward to continuing talks with the MEA. We remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement that is in the best interest of both the teachers and taxpayers in our community. MAPS is being funded by the State of Michigan at 2006-07 levels, which creates a funding challenge to the district.”
A large crowd gathered at Kaufman Auditorium in Marquette for the Marquette Area Public School’s school board meeting, voicing support for new teacher contracts.
Teachers gathered outside the auditorium before the meeting, and all walked in together in support of a fair contract. The teachers claim there are misconceptions about how financially stable the district is, enrollment numbers, and what teachers are asking for in their contracts.
“The district is doing very well financially, and we’re glad for that,” MEA Teachers Union lead negotiator Fred Cole said. “We want the district to be fiscally responsible, and they are. But they don’t need to go so far. They’re in excellent financial condition, and that’s a good thing.”
“Teachers are here for the long haul. We’re here longer than the superintendent and the school board members–most people are here 10, 20, 30 years. We’re invested in this community and its students. We’re here for the kids.”
Teachers who spoke during public comment add they have not received raises, resulting in their take home pay is decreasing because salaries are not being matched with the rate of inflation.
Labor negotiations were planned to continue after the meeting Monday night.
MAPS Superintendent Bill Saunders showed a presentation to the audience on pension funds and the district’s income.
ABC 10 was unable to get a comment from Saunders or members of the board on the issue.