School district, teachers can’t strike a deal | SierraSun.com

School district, teachers can’t strike a deal

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunTeachers from the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District protest outside district offices in Truckee on Wednesday.

Local teachers and school district officials left the bargaining table unsatisfied once again Wednesday morning.

After a previously unaccepted offer of a 1 percent retroactive cost of living increase for teachers, the Tahoe Truckee School District presented a new proposal of 2 percent for the 2004-05 school year, a number that the Tahoe Truckee Education Association was prepared to accept.

But negotiations stalled when salary increases for the upcoming school year were addressed. It was the district’s negotiating team’s hope that the 2 percent would be accepted, and that the mediator scheduled for Sept. 9 could be canceled in favor of continued negotiations for the 2005-06 school year.

“Teachers didn’t want to agree to negotiations because they feel they never get anywhere,” said John Besio, a teacher who has been with the district for 32 years and who joined the teachers’ union negotiating team this summer. “We would like to [meet with] the mediator to keep the process going, because if it goes back to negotiating, it would be long time before we would come back to an impasse again.”

District officials sent out a press release Wednesday stating that their offer had been rejected, but declined further comment.

Even though both sides agreed on the proposed retroactive offer, the disagreement over whether to mediate or negotiate for the 2005-06 school year sent the two sides their separate ways. Talks with a state-appointed mediator will therefore take place as scheduled.

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“It’s as if we never met today,” Besio said. “This process is just going to go on, and it would have been cut short if they would have agreed to mediate.”