WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – There could be more rules for student discipline and possibly more paternity leave for USD 259 workers. Some said there’s some controversy over the changes to the latest teacher contract.
This week, a contract proposal was sent out to the teachers union. This is just the rough draft and will be up for discussion.
For now, the United Teachers of Wichita President, Kimberly Howard, said there is some concern.
“Well, we feel like a lot of the proposals in the contract would increase the workload on our teachers,” said Howard. “We’ve been through a pandemic this year, and teachers are working harder than ever, so it just felt like a lot of the proposals were not respectful of all the work that teachers have been putting in.”
The Wichita School Board of Education members brought up several changes in their proposal to the teachers union.
First, it looks at changing how teachers handle disruptive students. The policy now states students can pull students out, when disruptive, for half of the school day.
The proposal would change how that is handled. The board is looking to eliminate language allowing teachers to keep disruptive students out of the classroom for the half-day or settle for language which will require documentation of multiple interventions that have occurred before a student can be removed.
“We understand that that you know we want students to be learning, but if they’re disrupting the learning for the other students, that’s the problem,” said Howard. “Our stance is that every child in that classroom has a right to a high-quality education, and it’s really hard for those other 20 students to learn when there’s a student in there that’s disrupting the learning for everyone.”
The school board president, Stan Reeser, said the reason it is up for debate is that some schools have a higher discipline rate.
“The whole issue of discipline is really a balancing act between making sure that, out of all of our students, that no one is discriminated against because some communities of our school may have a higher discipline rate than others,” said Reeser. “We want to make sure we take out any kind of bias that may be on our discipline thing but at the same time, we need to make sure that the teachers have the autonomy to do what they need to do in order to teach in their classrooms safely.”
Reeser said it’s a balancing act, as some discipline reporting at schools can be insignificant or nondisruptive compared to other schools.
The proposal also looks at changing non-teaching duty days into student contact days and increasing paternity days from three to five days.
This is just the proposal, and it happens every year. The United Teachers of Wichita and the Board of Education are working together to hold the first discussion on these contracts.
Teachers’ pay is also up for discussion, but nothing will be determined until the state legislature passes the school funding bill.