Cedar Falls teachers concerned about contract negotiations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls teachers concerned about contract negotiations

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While it was school as usual at Cedar Falls High School on Monday, there was an unusually large crowd at the school board meeting.

Dozens of teachers and supporters signed-in and listened to the monthly updates.  Although the group didn't speak, their silent presence was noticed.

"It is clear why you are here. I just want to acknowledge that and thank you all for what you do," said Cedar Falls School Board member, Eric Giddens.

The district recently opened up contract negotiations with three employee groups, including certified teachers and support staff, as well as maintenance and grounds employees.

"The contract has obviously been in place for a long time, and we have been working to have language that helps people with work conditions, hours in their day, making sure teachers understand what kind of leaves they can take. With all of those being struck [from the contract], we don't know who controls that kind of language in the future," said Jaclyn Feuss, the Chief Negotiator for the Cedar Falls Education Association.

Feuss says she believes the board is looking to take those polices from the contract and move them to an employee handbook.

"But what is concerning for us, as an association, is that then the district maintains control of those documents and we don't have a lot of say on how or when they get changed," said Feuss.

"There is no longer that negotiation part?" asked KWWL.

"Exactly," said Feuss.

It's something that, before Collective Bargaining Laws were changed last year, teachers had a right to negotiate on.

Cedar Falls Superintendent Andy Pattee says it's about meeting in the middle.

"Finding a balance and one that fits both sides of the aisle because we are all focused on the same thing, which is impacting our students in a positive way and educating them at high levels," said Pattee. 

The negotiations could take one meeting or several, and will happen in closed-door sessions.

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