Wichita school district and teachers contract negotiations at standstill

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Update September 14 8:30

The Wichita teachers union say contract negotiations with the school district are at a standstill.

In a post last night, union President Steve Wentz says federal mediators are needed to get a deal over the finish line.

how both sides met yesterday at district headquarters to hammer out a deal.

The union says both sides exchanged proposals but disagreed on how to split additional funding.

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Update September 13 5:15 p.m

The Wichita school district and the teachers will discuss their contract at 6:00 p.m at the USD 259 Administrative Center.

There are two major components USD 259 is offering to United Teachers Wichita. The first is a three percent increase in base salaries for teachers and other members of the union.

Some could see a five percent overall to reward additional experience.

In addition, USD 259 is proposing going back to a 190 day school year instead of the current 175.

This would mean shorter school days but the total hours in the classroom wouldn't change.

UTW President Steve Wentz says he thinks the two groups are moving in the right direction.

"I believe the board and the superintendent want to do what's best for teachers. I believe they want to compensate teachers properly. I think they're trying to figure out how to do that and we want to encourage them to do so and provide some guidance in that manner," says Wentz.

School board President Mike Rodee says they budgeted for an additional 28 million dollars from the state this year based off of the school funding law.

They are using part of that to give teachers better benefits.

Negotiations will start at 6:00 p.m today, and the public is invited to attend.

The Wichita Board of Education and the Service Employees International Union (Local 513) reached tentative agreements on the 2017-18 salary and benefits package for SEIU and the Uniformed Security Officers and Security Dispatchers groups.

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The Wichita school district is proposing a 3-percent raise for its teachers.

United Teachers of Wichita President Steve Wentz says the offer also calls for a return to a longer school year, up to 190 working days for teachers from 175.

"I think we are moving in the right direction, but I still think there are areas to work on," Wentz says. "We (the teachers' union) look forward to having the discussion."