Owatonna Education Association says no reduction in school days

/ 11 April 2012 / jennifer

Derek Sullivan, Owatonna People’s Press, April 11, 2012 –

OWATONNA — A decision by the Owatonna Education Association teachers union on Wednesday to not vote on a proposed reduction of class days in the 2012-2013 means that students in the district will not have six fewer days of school next year.

The district had hoped to leave students, as well as hourly staff, at home for six additional days next year and use the days for staff development. The district could have saved $220,000, due to not needing to hire substitutes and bring in hourly workers.

Under current contracts, however, the change needed to be approved by the OEA. At a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, the union decided to not take a vote.

OEA president Todd Andrix said the district had put the union in a unique and awkward position.

“We are not interested in voting for something that could potentially hurt some of our members. That’s what you have done,” Andrix said. “You have put us in a rock and hard place.”

Andrix added that it’s not the union’s job to vote on staff cuts. That job belongs to the board.

“We are in support of and we do believe in staff development,” Andrix said. “We want that. We think that’s a good thing. We also believe that we need to be in front of kids. That’s what teaching is. To that end, we decided to not vote on it.”

By not voting, the OEA essentially voted no. School board chair Don McCann and Owatonna superintendent Tom Tapper said the calendar would not be shortened in 2012-13.

Derek Sullivan can be reached at 444-2372.