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      IM teachers rally after working two years without contract

      The Iron Mountain School District fiscal year has ended in a $218,000 deficit and still no contract negotiations have been reached between the school board and the teachersâ?? union.

      Looking to increase revenue, the school has proposed as a last resort, a 7.5 percent pay cut for all employees, including administration. Now approaching two years without a contract, the teachers held a rally Monday night that was open to the public, and later headed over to the board meeting with pickets in-hand.

      â??Currently, we're asking nothing different than what's already in our contract,â?? said IMEA representative, Danielle Dumais. â??We just want what's already been promised to us in our contract.â??

      Fact finding took place on April 22 with a non-binding conclusion to appear in the next couple of weeks.

      â??Weâ??re going to be sitting down, I would say, within the next month, and two months thereafter and bargain in good faith to try and settle these contract with the parties,â?? said Tom Jayne, Iron Mountain School District Superintendent.

      If an agreement is not reached, there's a chance that 7.5 percent pay cut will rear its head.

      â??We just don't want to see a pay cut happen because it's going to mean a lot of us having to get second jobs and it's going to mean all of us having to cut back on supplies that we spend of our own money in our classrooms, money that we spend in the community,â?? Dumais said.

      The superintendent said declining enrollment is one of the largest reasons for the deficit.

      â??Weâ??re averaging approximately 36 students less per fiscal year for the last 18 years,â?? Jayne said.

      Despite the disputes, the superintendent says they've added a lot to this coming year's curriculum, including re-instating art in fourth, fifith, and sixth grades and working with Bay College in a dual enrollment program. Both administration and teachers hope to settle the dispute soon.

      â??Instead of focusing all of our efforts on something like this that's for the teachers, we could be doing something like this for the whole school district; we could all be out here together,â?? Dumais said.