No deal reached during mediation session
(ABC 6 News) – Teachers at Kasson-Mantorville High School are not satisfied with their pay; after teacher’s contract expired on July 1, 2023, they have worked without one.
Tonight the teacher’s union met with the school board to see if they could reach a deal, drawing a large audience of teachers and residents.
“In the last few years it’s felt more paycheck to paycheck for me than what I’ve ever felt before,” K-M English teacher Bernie Buehler said.
“We’re not satisfied with the progress of negotiations so far,” KMEM president Aaron Wilke said.
Teachers and the school board started the day separated by about $440,000 over a two-year contract.
After hours of negotiation, KMEM moved $60,000 closer to the school board’s offer.
Meanwhile, the school board moved $41,000 closer to KMEM’s offer.
After mediation, both sides are now separated by $346,000.
Starting in 2024, K-M teachers will be paying $430 more per month for family health insurance than they did last year.
If the teaching staff were to accept the board’s latest offer, their health insurance amount would decrease to $280 a month. For many teachers, they would be taking home less money than they did before.
“It’s frustrating to see the district not having taken steps to put the district in a better financial position,” Buehler said.
Buehler taught at K-M for 28 years and pointed to the increasing cost of healthcare as one of their main concerns when negotiating.
“Our deductibles have more than doubled in the last two years, and that’s hard if you have a medical incident, you’ll be paying that for a long time.”
With no new deal on the table, teachers said their fight isn’t over.
“We have a voice, that we expect more, and we’re worth it,” Wilke said.
Some teachers said the last thing the union wants to do is strike.
According to teachers, they want to be in schools and don’t want negotiations to take away from students in the classroom.