BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (March 17, 2014) — Teachers packed the Battle Creek Board of Education meeting Monday.
The district’s teachers have been without a contract the entire school year and have been picketing every Friday for the past four weeks in hopes of bringing the issue to parents and community members. Monday, they faced the school board and spoke of the school district’s decline and low teacher morale, issues plaguing districts across the state.
“I’m paying out of my own pockets for materials that the kids in my classroom need and the district says they cannot get,” one teacher said during a public comment period.
Barb Giallombardo, president of the Battle Creek Education Association, said teachers understand that school funding is a statewide problem and wish the district would ask for help from teachers to find solutions.
Monday, The board of education voted to ratify the tentative agreement with the Battle Creek Transportation Association that keeps those services internal instead of privatizing bus service. This came after bids were sought from companies as had been done in many other districts in West Michigan. Giallombardo said the Battle Creek Education Association will continue to picket every week until teachers have a contract.