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The stalemate continues for the United Teachers Union of Wichita and the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education over contract negotiations.
Several teachers spoke to the school board at its meeting on Monday at Wichita North High School.
"I appreciate you working very hard to keep budget cuts away from our classroom and holding on to insurance benefits," said Erin Gulick Dresher, a teacher at Peterson Elementary. "Unfortunately, those compliments and those accolades, and even your creative budgeting cannot pay my mortgage or feed my child.
"I believe that it is time that you stop just saying how much you value me, and it is time to start paying how much you value me."
Contract negotiations between the two parties stalled on April 30. Salaries for teachers have been frozen since 2008.
Board Member Lynn Rogers said the district has shared funding with teachers when it has been available.
"We need to remind people that we have cut administration - over 35 percent in the last year or so," he said. "We have protected teachers. There were no teacher layoffs that were actually a teacher in that position. They were moved to another position that was open."
Rogers said the "negotiations are a dialogue."
Outside of the meeting, supporters of the teacher's union gathered on 13th Street in front of North High.
Mark Shultz, a teacher at Wichita Heights High School, said he has been taking evening and summer courses to improve his value to the district, but the teacher's salary does not reflect his efforts.
Teachers also questioned attempts to change the dress code and to streamline lesson plans.
Erica Penrose, a teacher at Seltzer Elementary, noted inconsistencies in salaries compared to other districts, as well as teachers newly hired to the district.
"What you are saying to teachers is experience in other districts is far more valuable than teaching in this district," she said. "How many more good teachers are going to abandon (USD) 259 or teaching because it is no longer affordable?"
Information previously provided by the district said a current proposal from the UTW - including a 3 percent salary increase and back pay for tracks, steps and longevity - would total $46.7 million.