An emotional evening for everyone at Wednesday Erie School District’s school board meeting.
Hundreds of Erie school district educators uniting together sporting the color white, chanting and rallying for contract negotiations.
Those educators now 819 days without a contract.
The Vice President of the Erie Education Association saying it’s the uncertainty that is leading to this call for action.
Doug Owens says, “We understand that the problem that the Erie School Districts face are difficult ones. And it’s not the school board’s fault, it’s not the teachers fault, it’s the funding fault.”
The school district has lost 25 educators and counting just this summer, according to Owens.
Superintendent Dr. Jay Badams says there’s frustration on both ends of the table. But he says they’re not that far apart when it comes to negotiations.
Badams says, “We know our teachers do an outstanding job. We want them to be compensated fairly. We just need to do so in a responsible way because of our financial situation.”
Badams says ESD teachers are paid $4,000-$6,000 starting salary less than teachers in neighboring school districts.
Badams says, “We’ll attempt to do everything we can to do right by our teachers, right by our tax payers, most importantly right by our children.”
And Owens says the teachers heard what they needed to hear to at the meeting to feel optimistic moving forward at the negotiation table.
Owens says, “What we heard from them today is that they want to end and move the contract negotiations forward, so we can get back to doing what we do best, which is teaching.”