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Joplin teachers and union representatives call a new two year co - KOAM TV 7

Joplin teachers and union representatives call a new two year contract offering raises a huge bargaining success

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Joplin teachers and union representatives call a new two year contract offering raises a huge bargaining success and a good start to bringing change to the Joplin school district.

     The Joplin school board unanimously approved the two year contract.

Summer school is in session and it’s often worked by teachers to make extra money.

Michelle Young did so for many years because money has been an issue. She said, "Especially when health insurance goes up every years for a lot of places including school district when you have that, just cost of living, definitely have to supplement income."

Christopher Young, her husband and a Joplin high school French teacher said, "I do work a second job. I’ve worked that for sixteen years." 

So a one thousand dollar raise for all teachers and step on the salary schedule  is good news to the Youngs.

Christopher said, "A step is almost two hundred dollars so it’s a jump for a family that has two teachers in the Joplin school district."

 Michelle added, "definitely puts faith back  in Joplin schools with the teachers and makes us feel excited to come back."

Many believe it will help with teacher retention beginning to make Joplin more financially competitive with other districts.

East Middle school teacher, Brooke Nicoletti said, "We have had a huge turnover at my school for many years and a lot of times I think money talks. You can work somewhere else, make some more money and that’s sad for the kids and for the  teachers. We get in a groove with somebody co-teaching start getting used to each other, start making plans for lesson, and then they leave." 

The raises will cost the district about a million dollars more each year.

Joplin schools Chief Financial Officer Paul Barr said, "We separated it from all the building issues and litigation, other matters. It’s totally separate and apart.  We feel like this raise package is sustainable into the future."

Besides the extra pay, the teachers say a big benefit of the contract is conflict resolution.

Joplin National Education Association Union President Crystal Stokes said, “Across  the board, if I send a student  to the principal I have some type of feedback, some type of conversation,  instead of top down decision. Well, we made this decision."

That’s common already at the high school but not at elementaries where teachers say discipline was like playing a game of telephone and things got lost in translation. This way it’s a group conversation

Michelle said, “Students are gonna know, ‘I have to talk to the principal and my mom and my teacher all at the same time about this thing I did.’ And I think when that happens a few times they're gonna know not want to have  anymore."

 A unified approach to discipline, like a unified voice in the contract talks with help from the union. 

 Christopher said, "That made us louder. Made us more effective, so it was great having representation."

       Elementary  teachers  also get duty free lunch and all teachers are now  paid extra if they give up their planning period to fill in for other teachers.

  

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