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Burlington Teachers On Strike After Board And Union Unable To Reach Contract Agreement

Teachers picketed outside the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes in Burlington on Sept. 14. A new bill to be considered during the 2018 session would prohibit teachers from striking in Vermont.
Taylor Dobbs
Outside the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes in Burlington's Old North End, teachers picketed Thursday morning. School was cancelled in Burlington Thursday as the teachers union went on strike.

Teachers in Burlington are on strike this morning after the union and school board were unable to reach a contract agreement.

Members of the Burlington Education Association were ready to start the strike Wednesday, but held off when a former federal mediator invited the two sides to meet, along with Burlington mayor Miro Weinberger.

In a press release, Fran Brock, a history teacher at Burlington High School and president of the union, said a compromise was reached on health insurance and salaries during  the Wednesday meeting.

But Brock said that the board wanted to place too many non-teaching duties on elementary school teachers.

“We’ve been trying to get the board to understand that elementary teachers are having too much of their time drawn away from one-on-one interaction with students,” Brock said. “And now, for more than three years, they still won’t budge.”

A statement from the Burlington School Board said they entered the mediation session Wednesday “understanding the primary obstacle to settlement was resolving operational issues at the high school” and that those issues were resolved in the mediation sessions.

The board said that the union brought additional demands, and the board responded by offering a three year contract with a total salary increase of over 8 percent, and addition health insurance savings.

The Burlington Free Press reports teachers in South Burlington rejected a contract imposed by the school board earlier this month but have not yet voted to strike.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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