EFSM Statement on NEA and District Teacher Contract Negotiations

Posted on January 31, 2020

When Education First Shawnee Mission began, we set out to change the Shawnee Mission School Board, bring new voices on, and help elect people who would bring transparency to an old and dated organization, and that transparency would in turn promote a positive working culture for our beloved teachers and school personnel.

Along with the NEA, EFSM heavily vetted and endorsed the majority of this board. We believed – and still have hope – that the people we endorsed and who were elected to the SMSD Board are smart, good people who have the district’s best interest at heart.

That said, we are deeply disappointed and share our community’s outrage over this entire negotiation process, and particularly the closed-door session that led to a unilateral 3-year contract against the wishes of our teachers and union.

Here’s what we’re going to do:

1. We are emailing each Board member requesting they explain their vote. Any information we receive we will publicize verbatim.

2. We are revisiting our endorsement rubric, to ensure we ask future candidates about their support of unions and the NEA, and give weight to those that are clearly and firmly pro-union.

3. We are going to get better educated on the legalities that led to and created this HORRIBLE process. We are not lawyers, but understand at a high level that Board members cannot legally comment on active negotiations. If there are legal reasons for the lack of communication and transparency coming from the district, we need to work with legislators in Topeka to re-think those laws. This process was an *absolute dumpster fire*. In the interest of our community, our teachers, and our legislators, let’s do the work now to review and revise the process so we never have to experience it this way again.

If you have other ideas on how we can learn and grow from this situation, we are all ears. We welcome your thoughts and input – we have not given up, and neither should you! Please reach out to us at educationfirstshawneemission@gmail.com with any questions, comments or concerns.