School board to conduct meeting on collective bargaining


Seymour Community School Corp. will conduct a public hearing at 5 p.m. today at Seymour Middle School for people to learn more about the process of collective bargaining with teachers.

It’s the first of three state-mandated opportunities for residents to get involved and make their voices heard on the matter of school employees’ salaries, wages and benefits.

Under Senate Bill 390, all parties involved in collective bargaining, including the Seymour Education Association and the school board, must participate in open meetings to allow for more transparency in keeping the public informed on what’s going on.

The formal bargaining period cannot begin before Sept. 15 and must end by Nov 15. Informal bargaining can still be completed in closed sessions.

After both parties have reached a tentative agreement, another public meeting will be conducted to allow for discussion of the contract.

A third public meeting will be held where the school board will ratify or accept the contract.

Superintendent Brandon Harpe said the school board has a good, longstanding relationship with the local teachers union and doesn’t feel the new law will cause any problems.

“There aren’t any secrets anymore with how much money is there,” he said. “The bargaining comes in to what do you want to do with the money? Do you want it as a stipend? Do you want it as a raise? Do you want it for insurance?”

But he also doesn’t expect many people to attend today’s hearing.

“From what I’ve heard, these have not been very well-attended across the state,” he said.

Nancy Franke, board vice president, said the corporation always wants public input and involvement.

“But we can’t even get people to come to our budget hearings,” she said.

Harpe said during today’s meeting, the public will be allowed to address both bargaining parties, but neither side will make a statement.

“All it is is an opportunity for anyone who wants to come forward and talk about collective bargaining in any way to have that opportunity,” he said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Public hearing on teacher collective bargaining process

Where: Seymour Middle School

When: 5 p.m. today


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