Teachers in the Twin Cedars School District in Bussey recently became the first school in the state to leave Iowa’s largest teachers union. The teachers are now part of their own independent union, led by science teacher Justin Nolte who was elected President by his peers. Nolte tells KNIA/KRLS news that some of the teachers weren’t happy with the way they were being represented and were worried about the “fair share” bill being passed. He adds that another factor was the difference in dues between the Iowa State Education Association, which are $700 a year, versus the $168 per year for the Professional Educators of Iowa. Nolte says that extra $56 a month makes a huge difference, especially to a teacher.
Things are going great so far in the district and Nolte says they are excited about the negotiation process and making their students, teachers, school and community the best they can be. As the first school to gain their independence, Nolte says he hopes that other schools will follow in their footsteps. He states if things go well, and he thinks they will, others will probably do the same. When asked how he felt about being the head of the first school in the state to leave the union, Nolte said it means the world to him that his fellow teachers believe he has the leadership qualities to make decisions that are best for everyone involved and he is in great company with Leanne Stewart, Donna Huston and Amber Walker as his fellow board members who make his job much easier.