Letter to school board: Teachers want a contract

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2003

An open letter to School Board members, the Juneau School District superintendent and the district negotiation team:

We teachers at Floyd Dryden would like to express our deep concern and frustration about working without a contract. Thus far, Juneau teachers have been patient and understanding, but this situation is diminishing morale throughout our district. Superintendent Peggy Cowan's number-one priority, for the good of her teachers and the good of all students, should be settling the teachers' contract.

We believe Juneau elected a School Board whose members are supportive of teachers and who are ready to take action. Our hope is that our new School Board, together with leaders at the district office, can work towards a better, more trusting relationship with teachers. Waiting until the 11th hour to settle a contract is not a positive way to begin this new relationship. Bringing the JEA negotiations team back to the table with a respectable offer is not only the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do!

Right now, working as a teacher in Juneau means begging for a small raise and reasonable prep time. During the last negotiations we agreed to rework our salary schedule. We gave up our 5 percent step increases for 3 percent step increases. The district assured us that the smaller steps would allow them to save money and give us small cost of living raises every year. It is time for the district to honor this agreement.

As superintendent, School Board members, administrators and teachers, we should all be on the same team working towards what is best for our kids. Although this seems obvious, we continue to waste our energy working against each other. Why isn't our district and the School Board bragging about how well they treat and pay their teachers? The district and the School Board should be proud to give back to Juneau's hard-working, dedicated teachers.

The longer this situation drags on, the worse it becomes for everyone. We at Floyd Dryden strongly urge each of you to do everything in your power to give Juneau teachers a better contract.

The Floyd Dryden teachers

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