Shawnee Mission approves teacher contract for new school year — here are the details

Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement

The Shawnee Mission board of education on Monday approved a new agreement with the National Education Association — Shawnee Mission for the 2021-22 school year. The contract raises the salary schedule and hikes the district's commitment to teachers' monthly health insurance costs and also address work-life balance issues. File photo.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education on Monday approved an agreement with the National Education Association – Shawnee Mission for a teacher contract for the 2021-22 school year, which began earlier this month.

Negotiations for this new agreement between the two parties occurred throughout last school year and involved a federal mediator.

It was the second year in a row the federal mediator had been involved, part of an effort to avoid the contentious process that led the district to issue a three-year unilateral contract in early 2020 after talks with the teachers union broke down over compensation and work load. The final two years of that unilateral contract were ultimately tossed out by the state.

Below are some of the major points of the agreement the board approved unanimously on Monday, as outlined in board documents:

  • A 1.45% increase to educators’ salary schedule (base, step and column movement for compensation).
  • A 4.2% increase in the district’s portion of employees’ health insurance, amounting to $36 per month.
  • Teachers must now submit requests for a day off on the Monday after the Super Bowl no later than 4:59 p.m. on the Friday before the Super Bowl.
  • A 4-week notice is required when quitting, but teachers can resign with 10 contract days’ notice by paying $2,000 in “liquidated damages.” But there are exceptions for when an employee is promoted, or they need to move because their spouse gets a new job.

As part of the agreement, NEA-SM and the district also plan to reconvene in September to begin discussing compensation for secondary teachers who teach six sections a day for the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

Work load for secondary teachers had been a major sticking point during the negotiations in early 2020.

Collective commitments were also approved, including a portion that addresses work-life balance issues among teachers, an increasingly prominent issue as teachers enter the third school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These commitments, the agreement says, will serve as a resource for teachers and administrators as work-life balance issues may arise during the 2021-22 school year:

  • Results from professional development surveys will be shared with the district’s director of professional development.
  • The administrative operating handbook now includes language specifying “start dates and deadlines for logging parent contact hours and self-directed professional learning hours.”
  • The parent contact time portion acknowledges the expectation that staff regularly communicates with parents during the academic year.
  • A negotiations procedure, establishing meeting norms, was also approved as part of the collective commitments portion.

The board also approved a new agreement with Parents as Teachers Educators, a program that uses trained parent educators to visit with families of young children in the district.

That final agreement can be found here.