Teachers, board reach tentative deal

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Less than a month after negotiations with a neutral mediator failed, district officials announced the Colchester Education Association and school board had reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

District communications director Meghan Baule said the terms of the agreement would be disclosed after both the CEA and school board ratified the terms.

“Both sides are pleased to reach an agreement that they believe is in the best interest of the students, the community and the teachers,” Baule wrote in a press release on October 6.

Regular negotiations for a three-year contract first began in December and were halted when the school board declared impasse in April. From that point forward, all meetings between the parties happened behind closed doors.

In September, board vice-chairman Lincoln White told the Sun the two sides had “different perspectives on what a reasonable salary increase would be” and confirmed plans to move toward fact-finding, a process in which a neutral appointee issues a non-binding written recommendation.

In a subsequent email, Baule said the CEA had voted to accept the agreement last Monday afternoon and noted the board planned to vote to ratify contracts for the CEA, support staff and administrators alike at its Oct. 17 meeting.