Rapid City Area School teacher contracts still in negotiation

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - It's a bit of déjà vu for teachers and paraprofessionals in the Rapid City Area Schools district. Just like last year, contracts still aren't fully negotiated and the school year has already begun.

The only thing teachers and paraprofessionals haven't agreed on---salary.

According to the Vice President of the Rapid City Educators Association Dana Livermont, the district is proposing something called one-time salary dollars which means teachers would get a bonus this year, but it's not on-going into the next school year.

Livermont says the teachers and paraprofessionals want the district to fund the salary schedule they put into place two years ago, instead of freezing teachers and staff at their current salary.

The association hopes they come to an agreement soon because they are already behind schedule.

"We past the timeline we had last year. We had gone through the mediation process during the summer last year and we haven't even met yet this year," said Livermont. "So we are actually farther behind than we were last year. I am confident and optimistic we can make agreements during mediation. And then we won't have to use the Department of Labor for fact finding, which is when we go to Pierre and plead our case before a judge there."

The school board put out this statement on the matter saying, "leaders are hopeful that the conciliation process will be productive and lead to an agreement that is workable for both parties."

Mediation between the district and paraprofessionals is next week, while mediation between the district and teachers is on Oct. 9.