The Board of Education met with City Council’s Budget Appropriations Committee Monday to discuss teacher and administrator contract negotiations. The meeting lasted only ten minutes and very little discussion took place.
State statute requires the Board of Education to meet and “confer” with city fiscal authorities prior to the start of collective bargaining negotiations. These meetings are intended to be information sessions for the City Council, who then may pick a representative. The City Council representative is supposed to present budget information during negotiations upon the board’s request. The board did not discuss what kind of information they were going to request from City Council. [Connecticut General Statutes, Sec. 10.153d, Teachers and Superintendents]
The meeting was expected to take place behind closed doors in executive session; however, in what seemed like an odd move, neither City Council nor Board of Education members attempted to go into executive session. Discussion did not go beyond negotiation dates and whether similar meeting have taken place in the past.
The topic of collective bargaining strategy came up once. The subject was dropped after the suggestion of going into executive session was made by a city official. The meeting adjourned shortly after.
The only real information announced during Monday’s meeting was a negotiation timeline.
Contracts between the district and both the Bridgeport Education Associations and the Bridgeport Council of Administrators—representing 1,500 teachers and 87 administrators respectively— are due to expire in 2014. Negotiations between the district and the two unions are set to begin October 3rd. If an agreement isn’t reached by November 22nd, the negotiations go into mediation and then on December 17th, arbitration. According to city budget officials the negotiations could go on well into January.
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