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Opinion Article Published in Courier & Press

To the Citizens of Evansville and Vanderburgh County:

With more than 23,000 students and nearly 3,400 full-time and part-time employees, the EVSC is the third largest school corporation in the state. Our schools have been a vital part of this community since 1850, and we have a proven track record of continually providing the best quality education for our youth – our future leaders. 

Each of us is a part of this. As a taxpayer, you help ensure our students access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources. As a parent, your child may attend one of our schools. As a community partner, you may serve in one of the many organizations that help our schools succeed every day. As an employer, you employ our graduates. Together with our employees, you help ensure that we remain the highest performing urban school district in the state.   

Beginning in April, the EVSC and Teamsters Local 215 started negotiations hoping to reach an agreement for five EVSC employee groups. As your elected Board of School Trustees, we want to provide you with an update on the status of the recent negotiations. 

At each session and in all communications, this Board emphasized two main concerns that had to be addressed by Teamsters Local 215:

1.  The Board’s first concern is employee choice. We believe our employees deserve the right to choose.

Language in the expired collective bargaining agreement required the EVSC to deduct money from employees to pay union dues or representation fees to Teamsters Local 215. Many employees have asked to have the freedom to make their own decisions regarding membership, and we will provide this choice to them.

Recently, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving public school employees who are required to pay a fee to the union as a condition of employment.

2.  The Board’s second issue concerns third-party arbitration.

Arbitration strips the EVSC Board of School Trustees of the ability and authority to carry out the duties you expect from us. As the elected officials of the EVSC, we are responsible for the education of the children in our community, including employment and financial matters of the corporation. We take these important responsibilities very seriously and firmly believe these decisions must rest with the Board.

When the agreement expired, we assured all employees that they are still employed by the EVSC, because continued employment is not dependent on a collective bargaining agreement. Our goal is for the EVSC to be the workplace of choice. This can only be accomplished by continuing to provide competitive wages, benefits, and a positive work environment.

Our employees are dedicated to student success by delivering quality instruction; providing safe transportation; keeping our facilities in working order; supporting teachers, students and parents; and providing all facets necessary to educate a community of young people.

We know all of our employees make a positive difference in the lives of our children every day and we look forward to the start of school on August 10.

Sincerely,

EVSC Board of School Trustees
Mike Duckworth
Terry Gamblin
Andy Guarino
Chris Kiefer
Rance Ossenberg
Karen Ragland
Jeff Worthington

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