Education First Shawnee Mission, Shawnee Mission Post hosting community Q&A session Saturday on teacher contract negotiations, how to move forward

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Education First Shawnee Mission and the Shawnee Mission Post will host a community Q&A session this Saturday with Shawnee Mission Board of Education President Heather Ousley on the outcome of this year’s teachers contract negotiations and where the district and teachers must go from here.

The event, which will be moderated by Shawnee Mission Post Editor Jay Senter, will take place from 9:30-11 a.m. at the Matt Ross Community Center in downtown Overland Park. Doors to the event will open at 9 a.m. The event listing has been posted on Facebook here.

“Transparency is the foundation for trust and a positive working relationship among administration, staff, and families. Education First Shawnee Mission is committed to helping our community heal after a contentious few months,” said Education First Shawnee Mission Chair Megan Peters. “We hope that this event will provide all with the opportunity to gain understanding through two-way communication.”

Education First Shawnee Mission has set up a page to collect questions you’d like to hear Ousley address. We’ll be selecting the topics that get the most interest on the page to ask about during the event. We’ll also be accepting questions written on notecards for consideration the day of the event. Senter will pose the questions directly to Ousley.

“Our hope is that we can facilitate better understanding between patrons, teachers and the board of education about how we got where we are, and how we can move forward together as a community,” Senter said.

The board of education adopted a three-year unilateral contract Jan. 30 after the district walked away from the bargaining table earlier that week. Then, two weeks later, the Kansas Department of Labor ruled in favor of the teachers union in its complaint that a three-year contract deprived them of the right to negotiate. That means the first year of the three year contract is currently in effect, but the district and teachers union will go through the negotiations process for 2020-21.