Talks with teachers union will enter mediation

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Demand for contract extension not met

By Daniel Laverty

Bargaining representatives from the teachers union and the Jeffco school board will enter mediation, after the board failed to meet the union’s request for a contract extension.

After declaring an impasse April 7, the Jeffco Education Association told the board in a letter that only a multi-year contract extension would bring teachers back to negotiations. 

The board made no move to extend the pact at its April 24 meeting. After a failed attempt to go into executive session, board President Ken Witt said that any public discussion would be limited and asked if there was a motion to extend the teachers’ contract. There was none, and Witt then agreed that an impasse existed.

Mediation will take place behind closed doors, after the first open negotiations in Jeffco failed to produce results. The mediation will be conducted by Dennis Dougherty of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Dougherty had served as facilitator during the open contract negotiations. 

At the board’s April 24 study session, the motion to enter executive session failed when board members Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman voted against it. 

“Is there anyone on this board that would make a motion?” Witt asked the board. “The motion would be to end impasse and grant the three-year contract extension.

“So I’ve heard no motion … therefore we are at impasse,” Witt said. 

Witt instructed Amy Weber, the district’s human resources director and head of the board’s bargaining team, to start planning the mediation process. At press time, no schedule had been set. 

Jeffco teachers have not had a raise in four years. The current contract between the district and teachers union expires in August 2015.

Contact Daniel Laverty at 303-350-1042 or  Daniel@evergreenco.com. Follow Daniel on Twitter @LavertyReports.