SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Paying quality teachers and staff members what they deserve in tough economic times: That's the problem the Sioux City Community School District faces.
Tuesday evening, district officials met with members of three different unions, representing more than 1,000 people. They're starting the negotiating process for next year's contracts.
Compensation and benefits are the biggest sticking points right now. The union that represents teachers and support staff, like secretaries wants a 2.5% raise.
However, the district wants to keep pay right where it is, with a "zero percent" total package increase.
"We are in such a significant budget challenge right now that we honestly believe we need to take aggressive action on salary in order to keep as many people employed as possible," says superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman.
The Sioux City Education Association also wants the district to match increases to insurance premiums.
However, the association director says he realizes times are tight and John Morrell's impending departure only creates more uncertainty.
"We recognize that the district has some economic problems and so does the city. But we also recognize that individual teachers and support staff have needs," says Sioux City Education Association director Bruce Lear.
All sides involved will now negotiate in private until they reach an agreement. They'll need to reach a deal by June.