It is unfortunate that the school board and its negotiating team prefer to issue press releases rather than stay at the bargaining table to reach a settlement. Instead of trying to score points in the media, Board Chairman Mark Porter and his team should be trying to reach a settlement with the men and women who actually work in our city’s schools.
We will not negotiate in the press, because contract agreements are rarely made that way. Instead, we remain focused on doing right by our students, our schools and our wonderful city. All along, we have stressed the need for the board to negotiate with us fairly, and to honor its contractual agreements. We have also stressed the need for the board to be honest and transparent with the city’s taxpayers, educators, students and parents.
A fact-finding report, issued by a neutral third-party, has been released to the board and to the association. By law, only the parties can review the report in the first 10 days of its release. We chose to honor that 10-day cooling-off period in the hopes that the board and we could reach a settlement before our contract expires on Aug. 31.
Sadly, the board is more interested in making noise in the press than it is in reaching an agreement with us. There is still time, and we implore the board to negotiate with us at the table, and not through press release.
We are the educators of Burlington, Vermont. We strive daily to build the schools that Burlington's kids deserve.