Dickinson Teacher Negotiations Extended

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The wait for contracts has been long...though Dickinson teachers aren't budging.

"We started at 120 days....as a bargaining point we've come all the way down to sixty," said Brian Woehl, Dickinson High School teacher and negotiator for Dickinson Education Association

The Dickinson School Board wants teachers to have thirty days to file grievances, but Woehl says teachers don't think that's enough time.

"We're pretty upset that we're doing all the giving and the school board's doing the taking," said Woehl.

In addition to the shortened time span for grievances, the school board wants to tighten up the language of the policy. School board negotiator Kris Fehr says it's to make things more timely.

"Let's just deal with those grievances right now when everybody can remember what happened and let's just deal with them," said Kris Fehr.

It's not the first time teacher negotiations have taken sometime in Dickinson - negotiators from both sides say coming to agreement on issues has been a problem for years.

"it has been in the last more recent years we have had some contentious issues," said Fehr.

One instance even went all the way to the state's Supreme Court over the school board imposing two-year contracts. But there is one upside to the disagreement.

Woehl says one effect of the teachers disagreeing with the school board is more teachers showing their support.

"Our education association membership has really jumped because of the strength that we've gathered," said Woehl.

When the school board and teachers will agree on the grievance procedure is uncertain, but Fehr believes negotiations have gone better this year.

"We feel negotiations have gone very well this time, we're very pleased and I'm personally very pleased at how the negotiators have been able on both sides to express what their position is," said Fehr.

The school board negotitators plan to meet monday to discuss the policy further. They will then bring their thoughts back to the DEA.