MAPS teachers, school board continue contract negotiations

A special meeting was held Monday night to discuss labor negotiations for Marquette teachers, with everyone hoping a settlement is near.

School board members held roll call, approved the agenda, then immediately went into a closed session to discuss teacher contracts.

But, before the meeting even got started, a prior meeting had teachers and representatives concerned–along with disappointment on agenda lineup.

“When we arrived here most of the board was behind closed doors in the superintendents office which makes us wonder if that’s a violation so it’s raised some concerns,” Michigan Education Association UniServ director for Marquette and Alger Counties Stu Skauge said

“The doors were closed on both sides, they said it was a chance social gathering and they were having a bite to eat and discussing the ballgame, Red Wings game, but apparently a twenty-minute discussion and the doors needed to be closed for that,” Marquette Area Education Association lead negotiator and MAPS teacher Fred Cole said.

“I was hoping they would wait and go into closed session for negotiations after the regular meeting after people have had a chance to make public comments to tell them their feelings and have a chance to influence their decision,” Skauge said.

The group patiently waited outside in the hall, with hope lingering that a contract settlement could be approved.

Both sides have presented revised settlement contracts and say they are open to compromise.

“If you want to put it in financial terms, we are about $400,000 off for a two-year contract, so that is pretty significant,” MAPS Superintendent Bill Saunders said.

Weekly negotiation meetings are being held–including one Wednesday, April 30–and will continue until a settlement is reached.