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BOE, support personnel group to face impasse panel

September 27, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

The Washington County Board of Education and the Washington County Educational Support Personnel Association, at an impasse in contract negotiations, are to present arguments to an impasse panel Thursday.

WCESPA members are due a 3 percent raise this fiscal year and, if applicable, step increases, officials from both sides have said. However, the school system did not receive enough state and county funding to afford raises this fiscal year, Chris South, the school system's chief financial officer, has said.

The WCESPA contract does not contain a renegotiation stipulation regarding salaries.

The Board of Education also has reached an impasse in negotiations with the Washington County Teachers Association (WCTA). An impasse panel heard arguments from the school board and the WCTA on Aug. 26.

That panel issued a report last week, School Board President Wayne Ridenour said Monday.

Ridenour said Washington County Public Schools staff received the report late Friday. Ridenour said he had been given a "little update," but he hadn't had an opportunity to read the entire report as of Monday afternoon. He said he expected to receive a copy of the impasse panel's report no later than Tuesday.

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The school system and the Washington County Teachers Association have been in negotiations for about a year in regard to the last year in the contract, which is the fiscal year that began July 1.

The negotiations, which include salary and step increases, as well as who bears what portion of health care costs, were declared at an impasse in June by State Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick.

Because the WCTA case began before July 1, when the law changed in regard to appeal options, this case falls under the old law, according to the Maryland Attorney General's office. That means the school board has the final say.

The WCTA has about 1,400 members and the WCESPA has about 500 members.

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