Meridian trustees end teacher negotiations, issue contracts

broberts@idahostatesman.comJuly 1, 2013 

— Meridian School District trustees issued contracts to teachers Monday that included the board's last offer, ending negotiations the teachers union had hoped would continue this month.

Teachers will get a one-year increase in pay for length of time on the job, additional increases for college credits earned and a $1,000 bonus for those who have topped out of the pay scale.

Under a new Idaho law, teachers contracts must be issued each year by July 1. Meridian trustees pointed to an Idaho attorney general’s opinion that said a school district that negotiates in good faith but can’t reach agreement by July 1 can declare an impasse and issue contracts. That ends negotiations.

Teachers and district officials, who were in discussions since February, met Friday evening but were unable to work out an agreement.

Teachers wanted more increases for time on the job. They dropped demands for hiring more teachers - to ensure that instructors got uninterrupted prep time - and a 1.67 percent pay hike.

Teachers are the only employees in the Meridian School District who will receive pay hikes this year.

"There have been several difficult years for educators," said Mike Vuittonet, Meridian school board chairman. "While I wish we could afford to do more, at least for the first time since 2008, we are able to do something positive for our teachers."

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