The Salt Lake Teachers Association (SLTA) has known for a while that members would be offered a 4 percent pay raise.
What they didn't know was what stipulations would come with it.In an emergency meeting Monday, negotiators from the SLTA and the Salt Lake School District met to negotiate the district's teacher contract.
The talks didn't get very far.
The school district wants to take away certain aspects of the district's shared governance policy, which has been in place for 25 years.
Elaine Tzourtzouklis, president of the SLTA, said the organization was prepared to accept the pay raise but could not accept what would come with the raise.
"We were willing to accept the 4 percent, but not with the stipulations that the district wanted to take out of our written (contract)," she said.
Dale Manning, the chief negotiator for the school district, was not available for comment.
Shared governance is a policy that, according to Tzourtzouklis, "allows all parties to participate in the governing process" at the school, including teachers, administrators and parents.
While not specifying what aspects of shared governance would be removed from teachers' contracts, Tzourtzouklis said any loss is too much.
"We strongly feel that removing any part of the shared governance from the written agreement would diminish the effectiveness of site-based decisionmaking and the shared governance process," she said.
Tzourtzouklis hinted that district officials believe shared governance is not working as well as they would like. But, she said, when site-based decisionmaking is done the right way, it works.
Teachers' written contracts, said Tzourtzouklis, supersede anything that the district comes up with as policy.
"We, as teachers, parents and administrators know what's best for our schools," she said. "I think it's a shame that the district is the pioneer for shared governance, and now it's prepared to take steps backwards."
Though teachers' contracts were not ironed out, negotiations haven't totally broken down. Barring another emergency meeting, the school district and the teachers association will resume negotiations in early August.