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No Resolution in Prairie Grove Teacher Contract Negotiations

The PGTA negotiating team met with Prairie Grove School District 46 officials Thursday to negotiate terms of a new teachers contract.

 

Not much has changed in the  teachers contract dispute. 

Members of the Prairie Grove Teachers Association negotiating team met with District 46's bargaining team on Thursday, Sept. 6, and agreed to meet again in 10 days to continue talks.

Teachers in District 46, which has two schools located at 3223 Route 176 in Crystal Lake, have been without a contract for a full year now.

Without an finalized agreement, teachers have been working "under imposed conditions that are not agreed to by the PGTA....since July 27th," the union said.

The two sides have been hashing out terms of new agreement for nearly 21 months, but talks reached a standstill in May when the teachers union declared an impasse.

District 46 Superintendent Lynette Zimmer described Thursday's meeting as productive in an update on the school district's website. 

"The Board and the teacher teams have had a productive meeting today," Zimmer said. "School will operate as scheduled. Our next negotiations meeting is Sept.17, 2012. We are encouraged by today's progress and we will keep you updated."

However, a statement released by the PGTA negotiating team was less promising.

"The PGTA negotiated yesterday from 7:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. with the BOE team," the statement read. "Minimal progress was made..."

The PGTA on Aug. 21 overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization vote. Yet, no strike date has been scheduled. On the union's webpage, the PGTA states:

"Currently the difference (in negotiations) is less than $20,000. To keep this in perspective consider that the District has an $11.6 million budget."

The PGTA negotiating team, which represents 73 teachers, has stated it is doing everything possible to avoid a strike.

From the union's perspective, 

District 46 serves approximately 900 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The district has one elementary school and one junior high school.

In January, the PGTA sought assistance from a federal mediator, and still no resolution was reached. On May 3, the PGTA declared an impasse. 


 

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