School Board likely to impose contract on union this week

skinney@keynoter.comMay 3, 2014 

The Monroe County School Board will meet Monday in the run-up to a Friday meeting with the United Teachers of Monroe, when the board likely will impose terms of a one-year employment contract after protracted negotiations reached formal impasse.

The Monday closed session is set for 1 p.m. at district administrative headquarters on Trumbo Point in Key West. The impasse hearing is set for 4 p.m. Friday at Marathon Middle/High School.

The timing of the Friday session, where the board is expected to impose a one-year contract for the 2013-14 school year, has been called into question. Board member Ed Davidson wants it moved to 5 p.m.

The current time "would appear to require teachers from Key Largo and Key West to take some personal leave in order to leave their schools early enough to make the drive and arrive in time," he wrote in a letter to colleagues.

"He called that "distressing" and "outright disrespectful."

Board member John Dick has also asked Superintendent Mark Porter to push the meeting time back. "I just want as many people as want to attend to be able to," Dick said.

Through more than a year of talks on a deal for the 2013-14 school year (which applies until June 30), both sides have emphasized the need to give teachers pay raises. They've been held up by disagreement over language in the contract that would allow the board to impose unpaid furlough days if district finances dictate it.

The two major issues are the unpaid furlough days and how to divide the $1.25 million in raises for teachers and school-related personnel like bus drivers that were authorized by the state Legislature.

UTM President Holly Hummell-Gorman has lately emphasized the need to get raises paid out and bring the process to a close.

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