Lakeville's teachers have been working without a contract since July 1, and it seems as though impatience is growing.
The teacher's union, Education Minnesota Lakeville, and the have met a number of times to negotiate a pact, but EML President Don Sinner says the disagreements seem to be a matter of philosophy.
The board has proposed increasing health care premiums as part of the new deal, according to a story in Thisweek Newspapers. But the major sticking point has been the proposal to cut class preparation time.
“We want to maintain the prep level we have now,” Sinner said at Tuesday's board meeting. "We have many, many teachers in the high school ranks teaching 210 kids and more during their day, whereas before that it used to be in the 150-170 range. That’s a tremendous workload increase.”
Currently, teachers have 275 minutes of prep time a week, which isn't enough, according to Sinner, for teachers who have watched class sizes increase with the layoffs of 16.5 percent of the teaching staff over the past five years.
Lakeville South High School communication arts teacher Jay Scovil told the board that cutting prep time is a mistake.
“Our classes have 40-70 students,” he said. “Teachers are overwhelmed right now.”
The board says it is highly motivated to settle the stalemate, and the next mediation session is scheduled for Jan. 5.
Sinner stopped short of blaming the board for not making a deal during the Nov. 30 mediation session, but was still critical.
“Their stances have not changed, hardly at all,” Sinner told Thisweek. “We believe it sits in the hands of six people. I know the administration would like to move forward and be able to do what needs to be done. We’re committed to continuing to provide the best education in the classroom as possible.”