Oct. 9, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The 2018-19 teacher collective bargaining agreement was approved on a 6-1 vote during Monday night’s West Bend School Board meeting.
Ken Schmidt was the only dissenting vote.
Dave Hammelmann with the West Bend School District said, “We did complete the WBEA teachers union and we had two negotiation meetings in September.
“The negotiations did end in at impasse for both 2017-18 and 2018-19 so in general where we ended up is within the preliminary budget you all approved and authorization was given to that.
“In general it’s a 2 percent across-the-board increase for teachers which includes the teachers making over $70,000 who in the past had been at a cap. So they received in the past a cash-in-lieu-of payment instead of a natural base increase. So this plan does include that so I’m pleased to say that’s where we are.”
Ken Schmidt said he would be voting ‘no’ on the proposed contract.
“I have no problem with the amount of dollars that will be disseminated however the way they are disseminated is a challenge for me. Across-the-board base wages makes us as a district locked into that increase and that can have repercussions for the future, especially if we get into tight budget years.
“This economy is on steroids, we’ve got a great economy and because of that property values are up. There’s a high demand for housing and so on and that means there will be more taxes coming into the coffers but that’s not always going to be the case. Property values can go down and have a bad economy and then what do we do?
“Maybe give a partial across-the-board increase that would be ok with a maybe a bonus but … 2 percent lock it in across the board I think that locks us in as a district to maybe some obligations we may have problems with in the future and have to cut this or that to fund this increase, we could even be facing an operational referendum and I don’t want to see that in the West Bend School District.
“I think there’s a more reasonable way of providing this increase to our faculty and support staff.”
Board members voting in favor of the contract include Tiffany Larson, Nancy Justman, Joel Ongert, Tonnie Schmidt, Chris Zwygart, and Kurt Rebholz.
Details on the compensation package regarding health insurance and benefits included in the contract were not provided.
Superintendent Don Kirkegaard said after the meeting all teachers were treated the same. “Everybody got a flat 2 percent and that was true for all the support staff as well,” he said.
Questioned how teachers will be encouraged to excel if they’re all treated the same, Kirkegaard said, “At this time we do not have a quality process in place that addresses performance, all of the different things. That’s not there and that’s one of the things we’re going to work on for this year is to try to put something back in place so for future years you potentially have a flat amount but you also provide additional incentives based on certain criteria and that’s what we’ll work on this year.”