Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 15, 2012

Teachers, School Committee agree on two contracts

Work-to-rule suspended townwide this past Monday

Two tentative contract agreements have been forged between the Andover teachers union and the School Committee, and the teachers' Work to Rule action has ended, following a grueling 13-hour mediation session last week.

The contract isn't guaranteed yet, however. The fate of the contracts with the Andover Education Associaiton hinge on the findings of a High School Scheduling Committee made up of six teachers and six school administrators. Talks could fall back into fact finding if members of the committee don't agree on a single format, according to officials.

It is unknown whether there is any cost of living adjustment, or other boosts in compensation in the agreement. This year's school budget does allow for an increase in pay and assumes a high school schedule change, School Committee member Dennis Forgue said at a recent meeting.

The two sides will not release details about the agreement until March 26, three days after High School Scheduling Committee presents its findings.

"They have a deadline of March 23. It's a consensus decision," said AEA President Kerry Costello, adding that the committee's administrators have one vote, and the teachers have one other. "If there is no consensus and... the parties fail to reach agreement, we will be in fact finding."

In fact finding, the state appoints a negotiator to recommend a new contract that the two sides can further debate.

Talks go overnight for new deal

Last Thursday, March 8, four of the five School Committee members were joined by several school administrators as all 13 members of the AEA bargaining team met nearby. For most of the talks, the two sides were separate, speaking only through a fact finder who was mediating the negotiations.

"There was a strong desire on everybody's part to resolve everything else other than the actual choice of high school schedule," said Annie Gilbert, School Committee chairwoman.

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