Tentative teacher contract reached

By Kim Howard
Observer staff

Representatives for Chittenden South Supervisory Union teachers and school boards reached a tentative agreement last week for a new teacher contract. No details of the agreement will be made public until ratified by local boards and the teachers association. Ratification is expected in October.

“Matters related to collective bargaining are not matters of public record per Vermont’s open meeting and public records law,” Scott Cameron, attorney for CSSU, wrote in an email. Though negotiating parties can agree to disclose details of deliberations or the tentative agreement, he added, that is not the normal practice.

“There are a few hundred teachers in five different schools, as well as a score or two of board members from those same schools who were not on the negotiating team or privy to the details,” Cameron wrote. “They all need to be briefed.”

CSSU includes schools in Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne and Williston, and Champlain Valley Union High School.

CSEA President Christopher Hood said in an email that the tentative agreement was reached “as a result of cooperation and compromise.” He apologized for being unable to answer other questions.

The last CSSU teacher contract, a three-year contract that expired in June, granted annual salary increases of 4.55 percent with teachers contributing 10 percent to health insurance co-payments. The average salary last year for a full-time teacher in Williston schools was $60,924; the average CVU High School teacher salary was $57,768.

In 2004, the last time a teacher contract was negotiated, teachers and school boards also could not come to an agreement before that contract expired. That year, just as in this year, mediation failed, and a fact finder was required to make recommendations to move negotiations forward. A contract, which was applied retroactively, was ratified midway through the school year.

This year’s fact finding report was submitted to the negotiating parties on Aug. 29; it will not be made public since an agreement was reached within 10 days, provided the agreement is ratified.