School board responds to teachers union's message

February 26, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM


The Washington County Board of Education's chief negotiator responded Friday to information the county teachers union released the day before, saying it was "inaccurate."

Tim Thornburg, employee and labor relations coordinator and chief negotiator, made the statement in a seven-page document addressed to all Washington County Public Schools stakeholders, including teachers.

"Specifically, the association has inaccurately interpreted the board's proposals and not reported the true intent of the language to its bargaining unit members," Thornburg said in the document.Contract negotiations for the 2007-08 school year have been ongoing since December 2006.


The information Thornburg distributed Friday lists the offers made by the board's team and says they have been rejected by the teachers association. These include salary, extra-duty pay and tuition reimbursement proposals.

T. Scott Miller, Maryland State Teachers Association UniServ Director and chief negotiator, said the association has not rejected the board's most recent proposal.

"The manner in which the association addresses the public and our board of education is a direct reflection of the association's respect for the integrity of the teachers we represent," he said. "We are focusing on facts and declining a response to inappropriate, destructive accusations."

Miller issued a press release Thursday saying the association was pleased that negotiations were moving in the right direction, but key issues must be addressed in order to prevent a negative impact on teachers. Talks were called off that same day by the association, which requested information from the board of education before continuing.

Thornburg said Sunday that the information Miller requested had been provided.

The board's negotiating team has asked to meet next on March 5, and Miller said he anticipates that day will be approved by his committee.

He said the association looks forward to bargaining with the board in order to complete the negotiations process as soon as possible and in a courteous, professional manner.

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