Kenosha schools asking Gov. Walker to reopen union contract window

Kenosha schools asking Gov. Walker to reopen union contract window

By Charles Benson. CREATED Apr 25, 2012

KENOSHA- A local school district making a public plea to Governor Walker in hopes of avoiding hundreds of job cuts

The Kenosha Unified School District wants teachers to pay a share of their pension and health care benefits.  Nino Gigliotti is watching closely.  "Why are the teachers, the custodians and everybody else that work in the schools suffering but not upper management?" asked Gigliotti.

The Kenosha Unified School District, along with Milwaukee and Racine Unified school districts are asking Governor Walker to play a specific role in the prevention of job cuts.

Up to 300 jobs are at stake to plug a $28 million dollar deficit. The Kenosha Unified School District sent Governor Walker a letter asking for a 90-day window to reopen the union contract that expires next year.  It says 120 jobs could be saved.

"It's really an effort to try to save jobs and help the kids in our school district," said Gary Vaillancourt with the Kenosha Unified School District.

Why is Walker being asked to intervene?  After Act 10, or the collective bargaining law, was passed -- school districts were given a three month widow to renegotiate teacher contracts and benefits, but that window has since closed.

The Kenosha teachers union says it sat down with the district during that time and twice before that and has tried to negotiate healthcare savings with the district.  It called the letter a publicity stunt
"I think they would have gotten more value out of writing a letter to Governor Walker asking that he send the $28 million that he took away from the school district," said Joe Kiriaki, Executive Director of the Kenosha Education Association.

The governor's office tells TODAY'S TMJ4 it is reviewing the letter and says the request is proof that the reforms are working.

Charles Benson

Charles Benson

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Charles Benson is one of the most reliable, trusted and experienced reporters in southeast Wisconsin. If there's a big story going on, Charles is usually there leading the way.