SMSD News: Board of Education approves teacher contract

On January 30, 2020, the Shawnee Mission Board of Education approved a three-year contract with certified teachers for the 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 school years. This contract, which reflects the three-year contract length that NEA-SM repeatedly sought during negotiations, contains the same compensation provisions that were in the district’s final offer to teachers during negotiations on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, and reflects the Board’s commitment to teachers.

The approved contract guarantees teachers average base salary increases for each of the next three years (1% for 2019-20, 1.25% for 2020-21, and 1.5% for 2021-22), while ensuring they have the resources they need to be successful. This compensation package commits 79% of all new money received from the state to teachers, for a total compensation increase of 11% over three years, and follows the recommendations found in the Fact Finder report.

As part of the agreement, the Board of Education commits, within the strategic planning process and clearly defined fiscal guardrails, to begin phasing in adjustments to secondary staff teaching workloads beginning with the 2021-2022 school year (what has been referred to as “5 of 7”). The board will address this issue, but will not jeopardize current or future raises for all staff (which are based on the availability of new state revenue), or risk the district’s long-term financial stability. The Board was consistent throughout the negotiation process on this point, and the fact-finder’s report affirms the district’s financial position.

This three-year agreement gives the district financial certainty, which allows for the research and planning necessary to address workload and planning time issues. To develop a sustainable plan, the district needs information from several studies that are currently underway, including:

  • A staff work group on collaboration and planning time,
  • 5-10 year enrollment projections, and
  • Building capacity and facilities needs.

Information from these studies will be combined, and a fiscally responsible plan developed to address issues of workload, class size and bond issue priorities.

Recommendations from the research and studies will be provided to the Board of Education no later than June of 2020, including a timeline to implement solutions. The Shawnee Mission Board of Education and administration deeply value the work of teachers. The contract approved last night, with an 11% increase in total compensation over three years, reflects those values, while keeping SMSD on solid fiscal ground. Doing so is critical to ensuring the district can create the learning opportunities our students need for their future success.

This is a paid editorial placement.