Shawnee Mission school board approves new contract for teachers, union decision expected later this week

The SM Board of Education held a special early morning meeting to approve a tentative teachers pact.
The SM Board of Education held a special early morning meeting to approve a tentative teachers pact.

The SM Board of Education unanimously approved a tentative contract with its teachers union Monday that adds 2.5 percent to the salary schedule and leaves the district as the top paying in the state.

“Shawnee Mission has set the market for years in terms of of salary,” said Deputy Superintendent Ken Southwick.

Southwick said the agreement, which would be retroactive to July 1, will be reviewed online by the 2,000-member teachers union, the NEA-SM, and a final vote could come as early as Friday.

Negotiations began last March and in July, the two sides declared an impasse which brought in a federal mediator.

Southwick said that while the tentative new deal doesn’t increase the base of the salary schedule, it does provide relief sought by the union for members not scheduled to receive a raise.

Teachers with a bachelor’s degree would receive a $1,025 stipend, those with a master’s degree would receive $1,375. Those changes add $2.9 million to the $114 million salary schedule.

In addition, teachers will receive an additional $17 per month to offset medical costs.

“Everybody gets a little something,” Southwick said. “It was important to our teachers and important to us.”

In a statement, Linda Sieck, the teachers union president said, “The negotiations process involved good discussion on issues of concern to both sides. We are pleased to have reached an agreement.”

The 2.5 percent increase is expected to guide the next round of negotiations with school administrators including principals. The salary for School Superintendent Jim Hinson is frozen for the next four years.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of these negotiations,” Hinson said. “It keeps our salary schedule the highest.”