While some teachers were helping with the Monday afternoon, other teachers were outside the building raising awareness of a different cause - a contract proposal the union has submitted to the School Board.
Union President Mark Yanisch said he submitted a proposal to board members to maintain the existing teachers contract provisions for another two years, with modifications to mirror the 5.8 percent pension contributions and 12 percent health insurance contributions proposed under Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.
Mark Kapocius, the district's human resources director, said the board received the proposed agreement from the union on Feb. 28. On March 10, the board sent Yanisch an e-mail saying it was too early to consider a contract, given the uncertainty surrounding the budget repair bill and the biennial budget.
“It would be imprudent at this juncture for the board to enter into a contract with so many unknowns out there,” he said.
Since then, Yanisch said he also handed the board members a petition with signatures from 67 union members in support of the proposal.
In addition to the pension and health insurance contributions, Walker's controversial budget repair bill would most notably eliminate the bulk of collective bargaining rights. The bill does not take effect until it is published, and due to a Dane County judge's injunction, the bill is temporarily in limbo.
Yanisch said he asked to sit down and discuss his proposal with the board before the bill is published, but he has not heard anything from the board or administration since March 10. Kapocius said the board thought the original response was sufficient, and the board still feels it would be too early to enter into a contract.
Walker has said the cuts in public employee compensation will offset $900 million in state aid cuts to school districts in his biennial budget. The Whitefish Bay School District under the proposed budget.
Yanisch said the Whitefish Bay Education Association and the board have a professional relationship.
"We've got a great partnership. We really do," he said.
While some unions have acrimonious relationships with their school boards, "that's not the relationship we want," Yanisch said. "Nor do we want teachers looking over their shoulder. Nor do we want teachers wondering if they're going the ones who are going to be laid off next year. No one wants to be in those shoes."