Written statement released Friday morning regarding the Fort Wayne Community Schools impasse with the Fort Wayne Education Association:
FWEA declared an impasse tonight in negotiations, and will ask the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board to appoint a mediator. In a short negotiations meeting, FWEA presented a counter-proposal to FWCS that maintained much of current contract language together with a 1% raise and step increases for the next two years, for which there are no funds. Despite changes in state law that prohibit deficit financing and remove contract language other than wages and wage-related benefits for contracts entered into after June 30, FWEA would not agree to make the changes necessary to move forward.
If no agreement is reached before June 30, there can be no contract language governing teacher working conditions and the deficit financing prohibition may result in less money for teachers than offered by FWCS. FWCS also proposed language that went beyond the new requirements under state law, such as including a grievance procedure, but fit with our reform agenda and within our financial constraints. That was insufficient for FWEA. It is unclear if IEERB will be able to assign a mediator by June 30.
We obviously want to continue to have a relationship with our teachers because they are central to what we are trying to get done, but we also have to be fiscally responsible. It's unfortunate that when they asked us to come to the table tonight, they came prepared with a process to head to impasse. Despite going to impasse, however, FWCS is still committed to making sure the education of children is the central focus while the teacher leadership and administrators work this out.