GRPS Teachers Pack School Board Meeting To Fight For New Contract

Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-05 06:04:13-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A new contract for teachers wasn’t on the agenda for Monday’s Grand Rapids Public School Board meeting, but it was the topic the standing-room-only crowd wanted to discuss at length.

More than 20 teachers took the microphone to talk about life without a contract.

Most of them said they are undervalued and underpaid.

Teachers in the district have been working without a contract since the end of August.

In addition to wanting a raise in pay, they also are battling what they call unfair increases to health insurance.

The combination of stagnant pay and rising healthcare has prompted some teachers to fight back tears at the podium as they told the board about having to be forced to look for a second job to keep up with house payments.

The school board listened to all comments from the teachers but didn’t respond to them.

After the meeting superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal told FOX 17 that by law she couldn’t talk about contract negotiations, but she said that she felt for the teachers who are so passionate about what they do for a living.

The superintendent added that most of the requests she heard for a pay raise and lower cost to health insurance was reasonable in her opinion.