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Teachers association doesn't agree

February 04, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The president of the Washington County Teachers Association said Thursday the group has not agreed to the Board of Education's plans for teachers at Bester Elementary School and South Hagerstown High School.

As a result, the teachers association has decided to temporarily halt negotiations on the matter with the school board, association President Claude H. Sasse said in a written statement.

"It appears from the Board's recent actions that it clearly intends to unilaterally implement these changes prior to any resolution of them at the bargaining table, thereby circumventing the bargaining process and violating Maryland law," Sasse wrote. "The Association is currently exploring the appropriate legal avenues to remedy this situation."

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Patricia Abernethy, deputy superintendent for instruction, said Thursday she's not on the school board's negotiating team and had no comment on Sasse's statement.

"I can't comment on it, because I don't know what he's talking about," Abernethy said.

Sasse wrote in the statement that the school system made public on Jan. 25 its plans to restructure teaching positions at Bester and South High before required discussion at the bargaining table was held.

Just before a negotiating session on Thursday, the school system issued a press release on the teacher restructuring, Sasse wrote.

"This unilateral action by the (Washington County Public Schools) has forced (Washington County Teachers Association) to temporarily halt negotiations until the question of good faith bargaining is resolved," Sasse wrote.

He wrote that the association has not discussed or reached a tentative agreement regarding the changes at Bester and South High.

Sasse wrote in the statement that he would have no further comment.

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