Teachers reach tentative contract agreement
WILMINGTON -- After four formal negotiation sessions, two mediation sessions and a final fact finding session that turned into a mediation session, a tentative contract agreement has been reached for Twin Valley teachers.
"The Contract Negotiations Committee is very pleased with the results and feel as though the taxpayer, the staff and most importantly, the children of the Twin Valley School District have been well served as a result," said Dwight Williams, a non-voting member of the Twin Valley School Board and Committee Chairman.
It was the first time in 20 years that teachers from the district were working without a contract. They were under last year's contract, which meant that the teachers remained on the same salaried schedule.
On Dec. 19, there had been a fact finding meeting at the Windham Southwest Supervisory Central Office where the Twin Valley School Board met with teachers from the district's union negotiation team.
About a year ago, a groundrules agreement had been signed by teachers and the board.
"Part of that agreement listed the intention of both parties to reach a quick compromise and reach an agreement ideally before the school year," Williams said. "Both sides had been passionate about terms and conditions of the contract."
Currently, the details regarding the terms and conditions are being withheld. Both parties will need to accept the specific language found in the contract. The agreement will also need to be ratified by the Twin Valley School Board and teacher's union.
Due to the holiday vacation, teachers were unavailable to speak on the matter.
Initial teacher contract negotiations began in the fall of 2012. The primary issue for reaching an agreement between the bargaining groups had been the salary increases and a term of a contract, Williams said.
Superintendent Richard McClements previously told the Reformer that from the board's perspective, there is a substantial deficit stemming from having fewer enrolled students than expected. He said revenue was going to be roughly $300,000 short.
Williams had mentioned that once the process began for Twin Valley schools to host students from both Wilmington and Whitingham, it would take a minimum of three years "working in a consolidation state to establish a fiscal baseline to accurately measure the financial results of the consolidation."
"For that reason, we advocated for a shorter contract with our teaching staff and they have desired a longer contract," he added.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.
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