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Hancock Public School teachers picket for contract negotiations

They were unable to reach an agreement with Hancock Public Schools Board of Education over the summer.
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 6:09 PM EDT
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Hancock, Mich. (WLUC) - It was not a raise that Hancock public school teachers were picketing for outside Barkell Elementary School Wednesday morning.

“We want to get the word out to our parents and community members that we are working without a contract,” said schoolteacher and negotiation team member Cheryl DeLong.

DeLong said that teachers are asking for a one-year renewal of last year’s contract.

They were unable to reach an agreement with the school board over the summer.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Patchin said that teachers still remain under last year’s contract in the form of full insurance, pension and extra performance incentives intact.

And negotiations are ongoing.

“We want what’s best for the district. We’re obviously good stewards of the taxpayer money...we’ve got to make some changes, which are positive changes for us and we want the teachers at the table with us to make those changes,” Dr. Patchin said.

He also noted that he cannot share negotiation details at this time per law, but it may involve a critical piece: a committed ‘salary schedule’.

“When you’re working without a contract, teachers are not receiving their earned ‘steps and lanes’ and that’s important that we get that right now. We deserve that,” DeLong said.

The ‘Steps and Lanes’ salary schedule earns teachers raises after each years of experience and completing additional education.

More time may be required to weigh the parts of the deal during uncertain times under the pandemic.

“We are always going to get to a point where you both agree...we need to stay the process and work through this. I think the board is committed to supporting the teachers. But they’re also committed to see the school thrive, and committed to the taxpayer dollars appropriately,” said Dr. Patchin.

The superintendent said negotiations will continue again Thursday.

As the gathering was an informational picket and not a strike, teachers went right back to begin class before the morning bell.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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