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Teachers considering CSSU counter offer

Feb. 10, 2011

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

After avoiding a contract imposition last week during a Chittenden South Supervisory Union School Board meeting, the local teachers union is considering a new contract offer proposed by the board.

Lisa Bisbee, lead negotiator for the Chittenden South Education Association, said no date has been set to resume contract negotiations. She said scheduling conflicts with the teachers union and the CSSU negotiating team might push negotiations into March.

At a meeting on Feb. 1, the CSSU Board voted to not impose a contract for this year and continue negotiations. Bisbee said union representatives need to discuss the particulars of CSSU’s contract proposal.

“Unfortunately, we’re in a holding pattern right now,” said Bisbee, a special educator at Williston Central School.

Last week, the CSSU School Board released information regarding its latest offer. The board offered teachers 2 percent salary increases for the 2010-2011 school year, and 3 percent salary increases for the 2011-2012 school year. The board still wants teachers to pay 13 percent toward their health care premiums this year, and 15 percent next year.

In addition, the board agreed to allow automatic step increases for eligible teachers during the ongoing contract negotiations, as proposed by the CSEA. As a result, certain teachers will still see a salary increase even though their last contract expired in July 2010.

Teachers have been working without a contract since last summer and have been negotiating with CSSU for 16 months. The CSEA is made up of educators from the Williston, Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, and Champlain Valley Union High School districts.