Shawnee Mission School District officials have informed representatives of the local teachers union that they are looking to extend the elementary school work day for the coming school year.
District officials confirmed earlier this week that an extended elementary school day for teachers has been part of the early discussions with the teachers union, but the district’s communications office did not reply to requests for additional information on the proposal.
Linda Sieck, the former SM East Spanish teacher who took over as president of the Shawnee Mission chapter of the National Education Association last summer, confirmed that extending the elementary school day had been put on the table, but that the union had not seen any details on the proposal to date. Presently, elementary school teachers have fewer required hours under their contracts than those at the middle and high school levels. The district is looking to even those out so that both elementary and secondary teachers would by contractually obligated to work eight hour days.
“At our first session, Dr. [Kenny] Southwick explained that it was the district’s desire that all staff contract hours be the same,” said Sieck. “We have yet to discuss this at the table and have not yet seen the board’s proposal, so I cannot comment as to whether or not our team would support such an idea.”
The proposal would only impact teachers’ work days, and would not have any impact on the amount of time students have in the classroom.
Teams from the district and the NEA are schedule to have their next negotiations meeting on Wednesday, May 18 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the McEachen Administrative Center.