Opinion

Encourage school board to support teachers

To the editor:


Readers, I think the Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors needs to hear from you.


Changes in Iowa?s collective bargaining laws enacted in 2017 provide an opportunity for the board to ?walk its talk? regarding supporting our teachers and staff. As a former school board member from 2001-2011, I know they value hearing from you, and they may need your help.


New collective bargaining rules state that districts *may* remove certain items from the contract - items like sick leave, bereavement leave, grievance procedures - called ?permissive? items. Removing them from the contract means that the administration places them in a handbook or manual instead and can change or remove them at will without input from the teachers. If the board were to take this action, I believe it would seriously undermine the healthy partnership that now exists between the teachers and the administration.


These are serious matters for teacher morale, recruitment and retention. Although the new law says districts *may* remove these items, there is no requirement that the district *must* remove these items from the contract. I urge the board and administration to take the high road and allow permissives to remain in the contract as part of good-faith negotiations.


Please contact your board members today and encourage them to retain these items as negotiable parts of the contract and to stand with our teachers.


Board members and administrators alike have historically spoken highly of our teachers and staff at Iowa Association of School Board meetings and in the press. Let us demonstrate that we mean what we say, we genuinely do honor our teachers as partners, and that we are willing to ?walk our talk.? The payback will be worth it.


Thank you for your consideration.


 


? Margaret Dwyer, Fairfield