Indianola school district

Indianola school district

Members of the Indianola School Board voted Tuesday to approve a two-year contract with the Indianola Education Association, representing teachers

The new agreement keeps 85 percent to 90 percent of the so-called permissive language that led to a contentious negotiations period, with hundreds of Indianola residents packing a pair of school board meetings to show support for teachers.

Teachers voted unanimously to ratify the measure Monday night.

Permissive items that moved to a handbook included employee hours and work year and assignment and reassignment procedures. Items that state law says cannot be negotiated included insurance, dues deduction authorization, staff reduction and recall, performance review process, formal coach evaluations and transfer procedures.

The district and teachers will work together to develop a teachers and associate handbook before contracts are issued, according to the highlights of the agreement provided by the district. The handbook will include a note that staff will be notified before the handbook is adopted.

“The contract that was unanimously ratified by IEA and unanimously approved by the school board offers stability and continued excellent compensation for our teachers and gives the board some additional flexibility in managing the school day and school year,” said Superintendent Art Sathoff in a statement after Tuesday’s meeting. “This was an emotionally charged issue with the changes in legislation and districts across the state deciding how to address the changes. The end result, though, was agreeable to both sides.”

Greta Southall, lead negotiator for the teachers, agreed.

“As in past years, even prior to the change in the law, in the end, even if things got a little contentious at the table, we wound up in a place where everybody could live with it and work together from there on,” she said.

The agreement calls for teachers to receive a 2-percent salary increase in 2019-20 and a 2.1-percent increase in 2020-21. Teachers had originally asked for 2.5-percent increase.

Southall said teachers were pleased that the agreement goes for more than one year.

“We opened up with five,” she said. “A multiyear was definitely a goal.”

The new contract also calls for reorganizing activities pay, which governs how much people are paid for leading teams or organizations, ranging from athletic coaches to musical directors.

“The district had proposed reorganizing activities pay from two schedules to a single schedule,” said Southall. “We did a lot of data gathering but never quite got to a place where we had it finalized.”

The two sides agreed to stay with the existing schedules for one year while working together to reconfigure those into one activities schedule.

Southall said they want to make the activities schedule both make sense compared to schools Indianola competes with, and with existing participation and time required for the various positions.

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