Southern Minnesota teachers say school board isn’t supporting staff

The majority of teachers with the Plainview-Elgin-Millville (PEM) school district are speaking against the school board.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS sister station KAAL initially reported that unionized PEM teachers are pushing back against the school board after they say the board has not been supportive of staff and for being “out of touch, unsupportive, and highly motivated by personal agendas.”

Teachers in the union said that due to the school board’s behavior, they will no longer perform any duties outside of their contract responsibilities. Those duties can include substituting for each other in their classrooms or covering for anything else during the school day.

KAAL says this will greatly impact how things function in the PEM district as the union consists of more than 96% of the staff in the entire district.

Many of the teachers who have been with the union for a long time say that this issue concerning the school board’s behavior has been going on for a long time, according to KAAL.

PEM Superintendent Darrin Stroshal said that she hopes for a peaceful resolution to be reached and for the school board and the staff to get along.

“In our case, we have a struggling relationship that makes it hard for everyone,” said Strosahl. “Whether you’re serving as a school board member or teaching, they’re both hard positions to be in and they both need to be supported and dedicated to working together. That’s what we’re trying to do, find a way to come together.”

The union has demanded better pay, that the district dissolve the new “coaching committee,” and a public apology to the teacher and softball coach. This is due to the teachers stating that the board has treated the coach poorly for personal reasons.

Each Friday, teachers in the union state that they plan to continue to take action until the school board supports the staff members, teachers, and students.

KAAL reported that Stroshal said that school leaders will meet with union members on Dec. 4. Stroshal added that he is confident the current situation won’t impact students as staff works around the issue.

For specifics on current contract negotiations and more information on concerns regarding the coaches committee, CLICK HERE.