The Burlington Education Association and representatives from the Burlington School District met Wednesday with little success in the ongoing effort to secure a contractual agreement for the 2017-18 school year. Since no agreement was reached, the parties now move to the fact-finding process in the next two weeks. Both sides will present evidence to Michael Ryan, who also has served as mediator. He will issue a report which is not binding, but could present a path to a settlement.
The Wednesday meeting was the second mediation session held since the board declared impasse in March.
The BEA negotiating team continued to address the Association’s two main concerns in settling the contract. The teachers seek a contract that will offer a competitive compensation package that will attract and retain the best teachers for the city’s students. The teachers also contend the city’s voters approved a 7.74% increase or in excess of $6 million from FY16- FY18 yet not only has the number of teachers been reduced but the compensation of teachers in comparison to others in the region has gone down. The current Board proposal allocates less than 38 cents of each dollar in revenue to teacher salary and health benefits leaving teachers questioning the Board’s allocation of the revenues.
The BSD proposals want to shift the majority of healthcare costs to employees, and offer salary increases that do not recognize experience. The teachers are also concerned with proposed changes to working conditions that would limit time for direct-student academic services.