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School Board, Education Association At Odds Over Contract Terms

HEA says differing interpretations of mediator's recommendation is holding up ratification of new contract.

The HEA wants to reopen contract talks with the state mediator after a disagreement over the interpretation of the agreement reached in October. Credit: John Patten
The HEA wants to reopen contract talks with the state mediator after a disagreement over the interpretation of the agreement reached in October. Credit: John Patten

After meeting with a state-appointed mediator on Oct. 22, the Hillsborough Township Board of Education and the Hillsborough Education Association announced an agreement for a new contract had been reached—but it appears a disagreement over terms recommended by the mediator may be undoing the agreement.

While the board has approved the terms for the new three-year contract with the teachers' association, the HEA has not ratified the agreement—and HEA President Daynon Blevins said no vote will be held until clarification on an unspecified condition was reached.

"It came to the attention of the HEA that the BOE misinterpreted the written agreement signed by the mediator, and until the issue is resolved, there will be no ratification vote," Blevins said Monday. "The process will require the mediator to return to either enforce the language or, if the board is unable to comply with that agreement, to reopen negotiations."

Blevins declined to specify the point of contention, but the board entered into an executive session following Monday's meeting to discuss "negotiations with the Hillsborough Education Association and the Hillsborough Principals' and Supervisors' Association and sick bank requests."

At Monday's meeting, the board also rescinded an earlier vote taken to switch to the state health benefits plan from BlueCross, which been requested by the HEA.   

But before voting to rescind the change at Monday's meeting, board member Chris Pulsifer said the board acted in the belief the state plan's benefits were "substantially the same," but said the new prescription plan was not. If the plans are not deemed equivalent, the board must wait until the end of the insurance plan term or reopen the contract talks and obtain agreement from the associations.



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