By LANCE MIHM
The Minster Teachers Association is getting frustrated after
working three months without a new contract.
Co-President Tad Colbeck this morning said the association has
set up a bank fund for any future expenses.
“It would be inaccurate to call it a strike fund. It is
for getting positive information out to the community,”
Colbeck said, adding that money may be used to purchase buttons
and advertisements in support of the teachers.
Colbeck said the teachers still are willing to work out an agreement
with school board members, but noted that today marks 100 days
the teachers have worked without a new contract.
“The MTA has always done what was in the best interest
for the students and the community,” Colbeck said. “We
do not want to strike. After 100 days, we are still very united
but there is a tremendous amount of frustration. We feel they
(board of education members) have a low opinion for the services
we are providing.”
School board members meet with the association at 7:30 p.m.
tonight to discuss negotiations. Colbeck said a meeting with
a federal mediator to help with the negotiations already has
been scheduled for Oct. 28.
The teachers are working under the old contract, which expired
July 1. Contract negotiations began in early June. Talks were
scheduled to begin in March, but were postponed so the board
could concentrate on the 6.5-mill operating levy that was approved
by voters in May.
“Historically, the association has always had a great
working relationship with past boards,” said Colbeck,
a high school teacher.
However, Colbeck said teachers now feel the good negotiating
atmosphere has dwindled.
Colbeck said the board of education approached the association
in 2000 asking them to take a lower raise due to the legal battle
over the land for the new middle school.
“They wanted us to take less in our negotiations because
of these issues. We agreed out of respect for the board because
we wanted to continue to have the best school in our area,”
The teachers now feel there is a lack of respect being returned,
“Once negotiations started we felt that the current board
does not seem to value our contributions,” Colbeck said.
“Our students scored a perfect 22 of 22 on the state report
card and 90 percent of our students went on to college. Our
students had an average ACT score of 25, four points above the
national average, and secured $830,000 in college scholarships
last year. That level of success does not happen by accident.
But the teachers are feeling that they (the school board) think
this happens in spite of us.”
Superintendent Hal Belcher was unavailable for comment this