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SMSD, teachers' union reach tentative agreement on contract

Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 19:07:03-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Shawnee Mission School District and National Education Association-Shawnee Mission have reached a “tentative agreement” on a contract for the 2019-20 school year, according to the district.

In a news release, the district said through mediation, “concerns were addressed in a mutually-agreed upon manner.”

The tentative agreement is set to be ratified on March 9-11.

“Today’s process is an important step forward in the district and the association working together on behalf of our students, our staff and our community,” said Linda Sieck, president of NEA-SM, in a news release.

A federal mediator was brought in Thursday to help settle the dispute, much of which centered on nearly $10 million the state allocated to SMSD.

The district said it wanted to use the money to hire 29 new positions, while the union said the money should go toward staff salaries.

Superintendent Michael Fulton said he was pleased with the outcome of the mediation.

“This represents the first steps in a process of healing that will allow us to work together for the benefit of our hard-working teachers and the students we serve,” he said in the news release.

Negotiations broke down between the district and teachers' union in late January. Teachers had been working under the terms of the expired 2018-19 contract.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education then unilaterally approved a three-year contract, frustrating teachers and leading to a legal challenge from the union.

The Kansas Department of Labor rejected the three-year term of the contract, and the final two years were voided.

The district and union agreed to mediation earlier this week.