Shawnee Mission superintendent, teachers vow to move forward from contract dispute

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Shawnee Mission teachers and administrators vowed to put a bitter contract battle behind them Monday night. 

It was the first school board meeting since the Kansas Department of Labor ruled the district used "prohibited practices" when adopting unilateral contracts and told the board to "cease and desist."

RELATED: Kansas labor department calls Shawnee Mission’s unilateral teacher contracts a prohibited practice

In January the school board approved the contract without approval from Shawnee Mission’s National Education Association.

Ongoing negotiations to approve a contract for this year failed again last month. The Department of Labor didn’t fault the school district for imposing a contract for this school year in January.

In all, 48 teachers ultimately rejected that contract, giving up potential step or pay increases for the year. One teacher even quit in a school board meeting.

RELATED: ‘The kids and I deserve better’: After resignation, Shawnee Mission teacher says lack-luster contract was final straw

On Monday, the National Education Association President for Shawnee Mission said it would be an understatement to say the past several months have been challenging. Linda Sieck also said it’s taken a toll on teachers both professionally and personally.

But both sides vowed to try to find common ground.

“Now is the time to find a way to move forward together in the best interest of our students staff and our district as a whole,” Sieck said.

“I just want to thank you for your work and our continued partnership together to bring any issues that need to be resolved to conclusion,” Shawnee Mission Superintendent Dr. Mike Fulton told Sieck.

Negotiation dates for a new contract haven’t been announced.

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