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MVSD board prepares to begin negotiations with teachers’ union

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— “I would suggest hiring a third party for negotiations. Last year, it was hard on me – it beat me up,” chair Mike Dominguez, Kooskia, told the Mountain View School District 244 board at the April 16 meeting.

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Mike Dominguez

The teachers’ union had formally requested negotiations begin for the 2018-19 school year.

“I am requesting no outside attorneys or parties be brought in,” Clearwater Valley High School teacher and Idaho Education Association President Char McKinney of Clearwater told the board. “We feel this diminishes the relationship we have built with the board.” She also requested interest-based bargaining.

Superintendent Marcus Scheibe felt last year’s negotiations, which were not settled until a third party was brought in, “went well.”

“The personalities were out of it, and we were able to get down to business,” he said.

Dominguez agreed, saying it was difficult to “look teachers in the eye and haggle over their pay and benefits.”

“I love our teachers and staff and I want to give them more,” he said. “It’s hard to say ‘no’ when I know how much they do, and, yet, I have a financial responsibility to the district.”

“It becomes very personal when it shouldn’t be,” interjected trustee Rebecca Warden of Grangeville, who made the motion to hire a third party.

“I’m concerned if we get a third party they don’t have any investment and they’ll give away the store,” said trustee Casey Smith of Clearwater.

Dominguez reminded him that person would come back to the board with the requests, and the board would have the final say.

When the vote was called, Dominguez and Warden voted yes to hire a third party while Casey Smith and Brad Lutz (Grangeville) voted no. Trustee Lot Smith, Grangeville, was not present at the meeting, but broke the tie via phone.

Smith asked who voted which way and then also voted “No.”

Following this, Warden and Casey Smith were appointed to be the board representatives for negotiations, with business manager Becky Hogg as clerk.

Interest-based bargaining was briefly discussed, but when the board decided to table the decision until the May meeting to have time to research this, McKinney signed in to speak again.

“Thank you for choosing not to hire a third party,” she began. “Last year we talked about not waiting until the last minute to begin negotiations as it messes with people’s summer plans, including classes they may need to take.”

“We cannot go into interest-based bargaining if we don’t know anything about it,” Dominguez told her.

“I withdraw the request for that and ask for traditional bargaining,” McKinney stated. “Perhaps we can research and look into interest-based for next year.”

The board accepted this and will make plans to start negotiations.

Grangeville Elementary Middle School teacher Bernadette Edwards signed in and made the suggestion a free third party may be available to assist in the future.

“I understand the attorney hired last year was very expensive,” she said. “I would like to recommend looking into the University of Idaho for a free mediator.”



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