Deal Struck: School Resumes in South Burlington Monday | Off Message

Deal Struck: School Resumes in South Burlington Monday


South Burlington teachers outside the high school last week - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • South Burlington teachers outside the high school last week
South Burlington schools will be open Monday after striking teachers reached a tentative agreement with the school board on a new contract late Saturday night.

Details of the agreement were not released. Mediator Joseph McNeil issued a statement late last night saying that a marathon negotiating session on the third straight day of talks had yielded a deal. Teachers and board members will both have to vote to approve the agreement before it becomes official. It was not immediately clear when those votes would occur.

"Until the association's membership and the board ratifies the tentative agreement, they are unable to share any details as to the terms of the agreement," McNeil wrote in a brief statement. In all, the parties spent 29 hours negotiating and speaking with McNeil to reach the agreement.

Neither the board nor the teachers released any information or statements.

The first strike in the district's history began last Tuesday, with teachers saying the district was not offering an adequate health care plan, among other grievances. The gap initially appeared to be large. The board said it had offered teachers $1.9 million in new compensation — including health and pay — while the union sought $2.6 million.

Roughly 2,400 students saw classes cancelled last week. Sports and extracurricular activities resumed on Friday. 

Gov. Peter Shumlin said the work stoppage demonstrated that teachers strikes should be outlawed, and that educators, like many state employees, police and firefighters, should go to binding arbitration with a neutral third party if they cannot reach an agreement.

“When you see what's going on in a community like South Burlington, the people that get hurt are the kids, the moms and the dads who suddenly have no place for their kids to go during the day," Shumlin said, according to Vermont Public Radio.

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