Negotiations making progress

A fter a long meeting last Tuesday, the Granville Teachers Association and the Board of Education are one step closer to finalizing a contract. It was the second meeting between the two groups and a mediator.

“Progress is being made,” said John Shaw, president of the board. He said the meeting, which started around 4 p.m., continued until almost midnight.

“Both sides worked very hard; it came to a conclusion,” said Christine Cook, president of the teachers association. With the help of a mediator, representatives from the two sides made a tentative agreement, but it will need to be ratified by both sides.

Superintendent Mark Bessen said the representatives of both negotiation teams, who stood for their causes and needs, will now need to share the results of the meeting with their entire groups and then make a vote.

“It will have to be agreed upon and fine-tuned,” Bessen said. He said a contract may soon be reached, but he does not think the board will be ready to vote on it by its next meeting, on Nov. 19. Along with Shaw and Cook, however, he feels good about the meeting.

“I’m extremely happy that progress was made with the mediator,” Bessen said.

The teachers’ union contract originally expired in June of 2010 and was eventually extended through June 2012. There was an impasse after negotiations failed to produce a new contract. The district could lose nearly half a million dollars if it does not have an agreement on teacher evaluation approved by February, a state mandate as part of its bid for federal Race to the Top aid.

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