Meridian trustees agree to more union talks, but not about money

broberts@idahostatesman.comJuly 9, 2013 

Meridian School Board trustees, who had ended talks with the teachers union last week, have decided to go back to the bargaining table.

Trustees voted Tuesday night to continue negotiations — but only about non-monetary items. Board members did not define what those were.

No date for the next meeting has been set.

Trustees declared an impasse in negotiations, ended talks and issued teacher contracts to meet a state deadline on July 1.

Teachers say they were caught by surprise by the board’s move.

Luke Franklin, union president, called the district’s July 1 decision “heavy-handed” and “disrespectful of teachers and students.”

But district officials said they simply did not have the money to give any more ground and it would dishonest to continue negotiations.

Union officials said last week they still have items the parties could discuss that did not have a monetary impact, among them class size and caseloads for special education teachers.

During negotiations at the end of June, teachers and trustees were $4 million apart on a contract, much of it money teachers wanted for pay increases based on the number of years educators had worked in the district. Teachers had made nearly $8 million in concessions, including giving up on a 1.67 percent pay raise.

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