Education Association holds rally for local teachers

GWINN–Monday evening, a rally was held outside Gwinn High School as members of the Gwinn Education Association gathered to peacefully protest for fair and equitable contracts on behalf of teachers.

The Gwinn Area School Board held a scheduled meeting, as the GEA joined to voice their concerns regarding current teacher contracts and salaries. At this time, the GEA has submitted three separate proposals for amendments, all of which the school board has dismissed. The latest dismissed proposal from July 11th, had teachers receiving a 3-year-contract, opposed to the current 2-year contract, and having $159,000 divided among 67 teachers per year.

“We’ve had to shoulder the burden of our financial situation for quite a few years,” said GEA president Jessica Gustitis. “We were frozen for many years – in fact, many of our salaries have decreased, and so, we’re just looking to continue on a positive trajectory with our salary.”

“We are bound by certain parameters – we can only spend so much money as per the state of Michigan, because we’re below our five percent fund equity,” said Tom Jayne, the superintendent of Gwinn Area Schools. “But we believe in fairness, and we’ll keep negotiating in fairness, and I respect their point of view – but I ask them to also respect ours.”

The GEA and the School Board plan to meet Wednesday morning to continue these discussions.