Teachers and community members pleaded before the Fowlerville Community Schools Board of Education in hopes of getting a new contract finalized.

Teacher contracts are typically negotiated and passed early in the summer before the fall school year begins. In Fowlerville, however, the Board of Education and the teacher’s union have been unable to come to a mutual agreement. Tuesday night’s board meeting was the last before the new school year begins, and with no new contract in place, Superintendent Wayne Roedel said they would be going off the previous contract until both sides can come to a contract they both accept. During the public comment portion of the meeting, several teachers spoke up questioning the district’s message of coming together as one team, and hiring new teachers in at a higher pay rate than some of those who have put in more time.

Elementary school teacher Julie Daniel asked the board to remember they have families and said that she didn’t want to stress about how she is going to get from paycheck to paycheck. 8th grade teacher Michelle Spisz blamed poor foresight by the board, saying that she knows contracts changes, but when you look at step schedules, the district’s plan is apparently flawed. She said she has given the district a decade of her life, and it was disappointing how they didn’t plan for how to afford her when she moved up from step 10 to 11. Fowlerville resident Mike Miller said it seems that hiring new employees in at higher step was akin to the board showing current employees how they can squeeze them under their thumb.

Roedel told WHMI that they have offered the teachers a contract with a raise, but it was not as large as they wanted. He said that the budget is tightly balanced as-is, and if the teachers accepted what they offered even now, it would put them in a deficit, citing how troublesome that could become down the road. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for September 12th. (MK)