Teacher's union seeks further negotiation with Columbia Public Schools on salaries

Mar 12, 2015

Credit jeremy.wilburn / Flickr

Columbia Public Schools and that Columbia Missouri National Education Association have not been seeing eye to eye in recent negotiations.

The school board announced an end to negotiations on increasing teacher’s salaries when it presented its final proposal at a Tuesday meeting.

CMNEA proposed a $6.6 million increase, which the board met with a counter proposal of $1.2 million.

Deputy Superintendent Dana Clippard said that the district has made its best and final offer.

“To CMNEA’s salary request cost approximately 90 teachers and that’s not something we want to do,” Clippard said. “We can’t do that when we are growing.”

The board declaring it had made its final offer troubled CMNEA, but McClintic says this is not the first time the school board has suspended discussions with the union.

“We really see negotiation as collaboration, as a way to work with the district and as a way to put things in there that protect the teacher and for the school district,” McClintic said.

McClintic hopes the conversation is not over.

“We just want to keep trying and keep that conversation going and keep talking about what is important, which is providing the best working conditions and compensation for our teachers, because then they get to provide what’s best for the kids,” said CMNEA president Susan McClintic.

Clippard says the Columbia Public School District has been growing on average by two hundred students a year.

Clippard explains that if the district were to accept the union’s proposal they would have to lay off 90 teachers.

“The challenges; our district is growing. It appears to be growing at a faster rate than our taxes are funding,” Clippard said. “The board can only afford to give so much and the taxpayers can only afford so much.”

McClintic recognizes the pressures the district faces, but still thinks it can do more for teachers.

“We believe that if you prioritize your employees then things will improve all the way around,” McClintic said. 

While the CMNEA and CPS have reached compromises on some issues, everything is still tentative.  The two parties are set to meet again on Monday.