MANCHESTER, NH – The following statement was issued Feb. 6 jointly by the Manchester Board of School Committee and the Manchester Education Association regarding teacher contract negotiations:
Negotiators for the Manchester Board of School Committee and the Manchester Education Association have announced progress was being made toward a new contract. On November 3, 2018, negotiations resumed with the board’s Special Committee on Negotiations presenting a comprehensive proposal addressing salaries, health benefits and sick time. After further discussion, the two sides agreed to establish a joint sub-committee to further assess the board’s proposals at its meeting on December 4th. That committee, comprised of MEA President Sue Hannan, MEA negotiator Michelle Couture, Negotiations Committee Chair Richard Girard and member Jimmy Lehoux met district Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis for over two hours to gain a better understanding of the board’s proposals on December 12th.
In a statement issued by Girard and Hannan, both sides indicated progress was being made in the negotiations, saying that they had agreed to stay within certain financial parameters, work to address specific questions the association had about the board’s proposals and review additional information proposed by the association.
Following the Dec. 12 meeting, the two said that the dialogue was cooperative and productive with several issues being raised and addressed.
“The School Board’s proposal for compensation was an intricate plan that contained many facets. The MEA appreciates the collaborative session to answer questions and consider particulars of possible needs or consequences. While we have offered counterproposals, we are confident that there is a solution somewhere in the middle.” said Hannan.
Girard echoed Hannan’s sentiments saying, “We appreciate the association’s efforts to better understand how our proposals were formed and how they work. As we’ve said, it is a comprehensive and intricate proposal designed to address the many issues raised by both sides. Our work session seemed to clear the air on a number of items.”
Following another half a dozen meetings scheduled, and future meetings of the subcommittee to fine-tune the salary, health benefit and sick time issues, Girard and Hannan said their goal was to conclude negotiations before the school administration presented budget recommendations to the Board of School Committee, noting that the district has started next year’s budget process.