Catlin teachers, district seek mediation

Catlin teachers, district seek mediation

CATLIN — The union that represents teachers in the Catlin school district has asked for a federal mediator to help settle contract negotiations with the Catlin school board.

Lezlie Holman, president of the Catlin Faculty Organization, said union members will hold an informational picket during the Catlin school board's meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the district unit office.

The Catlin Faculty Organization represents 44 employees, Holman said.

School board President Jeff Fauver said the contract between the union and the district expired June 30. The most recent negotiating session took place Sept. 20.

Fauver said the main sticking points are salaries and the language within the contract.

"We are projected to have a deficit within the eduction fund, which is the fund used to pay teacher salaries, of $570,000," Fauver said Tuesday evening. "We do have reserves, but when you are in this kind of economy, the reserves can dissipate rather quickly."

Fauver said the education fund reserves were at about $933,000 as of July 1.

Holman said the union is holding a picket to help inform the public that the issues regarding the language within the contract not only affect the teachers but the students as well.

"The language items still on the table involve teaching and learning and what's best for the kids," Holman said.

She said one of those items involves spelling out appropriate Internet access for students.

"We have very limited resources for our kids, and we would like to have better Internet access for them," she said. "We would also like to have a joint committee with the school board to investigate the possibility of moving toward a 21st Century education for our kids, including better technology and school science labs outfitted with better equipment."

She said the two sides are scheduled to meet Oct. 22 with the federal mediator.