Talks continue between MAPS teachers, school board

Contract negotiations continue between teachers and the Board of Education in Marquette.

Marquette teachers have been without a contract for over a year now.  The main issue holding up a resolution is steps, and there a couple of different contracts on table for both sides to consider.

The teachers and the Board of Education are reportedly only $100,000 away from a contract.

“You can look back over the past ten, eleven years when there were steps and there were also raises to the base (salary) during most of those years,” Marquette Area Education Association lead negotiator Fred Cole said. “In addition to steps, the proportion of what they (the district) spend on teachers out of their entire budget has been dropping. The steps haven’t hurt the district financially in the past, and right now we’re discussing a contract with step in a zero percent raise on the base. There has been no raise on the base in the last five years.”

“We’re working at it to the best of our ability,” MAPS superintendent Bill Saunders said. “And again I appreciate out teachers immensely and we’re looking to try to compensate them and yet be responsible and come up with a good budget that’ll work for everyone.”

It is against the law in the state of Michigan for teachers to go on strike, so Cole said teachers are looking at all of their options.

“We’re here for a strong district, we’re here for the students,” Cole said. “We’re here for the families in the community–it’s why people go into teaching. They don’t go into teaching for the money, and we’re trying to look at all our options to see what we can do to show people that we are united. We believe that this is a fair request and a reasonable request for a fair settlement.”

A mediation session between the board and teachers will take place Tuesday.