By Diana Bowley of the news staff - DEXTER - The SAD 46 Education Association has filed a prohibited practice complaint with the Maine Labor Relations Board citing bad-faith bargaining by SAD 46 directors. A group of teachers clad in black picketed Wednesday's SAD 46 board meeting to show their displeasure over the lack of progress at the bargaining table, according to association officials.
Negotiations have come to a stalemate in the district over teacher salaries and insurance benefits for the 2003-2004 school year.
"SAD 46's teachers are demoralized and unhappy with this series of unfortunate events that leave everyone in the district concerned about the erosion of the high quality of its programs," Ted Nokes, the association's chief negotiator, said this week in a prepared press release. "This prolonged battle continues to hurt the students' education by taking much of the teachers' time, energy and attention."
SAD 46 Superintendent Lester Butler agreed Friday that the stumbling points in negotiations are wages, health insurance and the zipper clause that closes the contract to any negotiations during the contract period.
"It will be going to arbitration," Butler said.
According to Nokes, the association has engaged in mediation and fact finding without success and proposed binding arbitration on all of the contested issues. He said the board rejected the fact finders' report and rejected the association's arbitration offer.
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