The McKinleyville Union School District and McKinleyville Teacher's Association are at another impasse after negotiations with a mediator failed to yield a result, both sides said Friday.
During Thursday's mediation session with presiding conciliator Stephen Pearl -- who was assigned by the Public Employees Relation Board -- the district and association floated ideas back and forth, but none stuck, according to Superintendent Michael Davies-Hughes.
”We were unable to reach an agreement, and now we have set a tentative date for March 21 or 28 for the mediator to come back and try again,” Davies-Hughes said.
MTA President Mike Meng said they went into the mediation asking for a 5 percent cost of living adjustment to make up for the last six years without one.
”To date, we have met with the district representatives at the bargaining table many times, spoken at numerous board meetings and held three informational pickets to persuade the district to move from their minimal offer,” Meng said. “Through these actions, we hope the district will make teachers and their compensation a priority in the budget, not just an afterthought.”
Davies-Hughes said he believed that both sides are in agreement about the amount of unrestricted funds available in the budget that could be used for salaries and other personnel costs.
”The teachers' position is that the district has this money, and they feel they deserve a raise,” he said. “The district feels the same way. We appreciate the teachers for what they do, and feel that they should be compensated.”
Davies-Hughes said the budget is looking positive for next year, and the district needs to look at how best to spend the money.
”The teachers deserve a salary increase, but we also need to bring back programs and other personnel that were cut, not all at once, but in a responsible manner,” he said.
Meng said they are working to ensure that teachers only work their contract hours and enforce the terms of their contracts.
”Teachers in our district, and throughout the county, consistently work many hours beyond their contract each day,” he said. “We want the school board and administration to appreciate and value all the extra time teachers give to ensure the best possible education for our students.”
Davies-Hughes said he remains optimistic.
”I'm hopeful we can work toward an agreement that both sides feel is appropriate and fair,” he said.