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KCK teachers picket, seeking a contract that is ‘dignified and just’

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Teachers are picketing for higher wages in Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, as the latest stalemate comes after two sessions with a state mediator.

As an attorney steps in to do some fact-finding, teachers says they'll fight to change the mind of the district.

Amid honks and waves of support, KCK teachers proudly held their signs as they rallied for what they think is fair. That includes Wyandotte High School French and Spanish teacher David Young, who says the contract the district offered is “no bueno.”

He says teachers want a contract that's dignified and just. The biggest issue they have is who gets the biggest piece of the pie.

Veteran teachers say in an effort to compete with other district, KCKPS is offering incoming teachers bigger salaries, at the expense of raises for those who have been there a long time.

FOX 4 compared four districts - including Olathe, KCMO and Lee's Summit – and based on the last agreement, it appears KCKPS is offering the biggest incoming salary.

“Our district, over and over again, they say they want to be one of the top 10 school districts in the United States of America, they`ve been saying that for many years, and if that`s so they have to have continuity, they have to have teachers who feel they are respected,” Young said.

That sentiment was echoed at a school board meeting. Teachers were applauded as they addressed the board.

“In my opinion, retaining qualified teachers is the best interest of our community and for our students and it also adheres to the standards which you`ve been emboldened to uphold,” Young said.

A KCKPS spokesperson says the district can't comment at this point as not to interfere with the next phase, which includes the fact-finding. He added that the district is committed to finding a solution that's fair to all teachers.

Also at issue, these teachers say they want "due process" written into their contracts. They say it will offer protection against unfair terminations.