It is contract negotiations time for the teachers and school boards of Chittenden South Supervisory Union (CSSU). This round of negotiations will be somewhat different in process than in the past. Last spring, CSSU and the Chittenden South Education Association agreed to a one-year contract, along with the formation of a joint task force – made up of school board members, Association members, and administrators – to review recent negotiations and to develop a more collaborative process for the future. The task force worked for most of a year to develop a set of recommendations. As a result, the current negotiation team is already operating in some new ways, including scheduling meetings further in advance and involving more participants in discussions, rather than communicating through attorneys and professional negotiators. We have met with a professional facilitator and drafted ground rules that will help establish an atmosphere of respect.
Contract negotiations for the next contract formally began on Oct. 22. Meetings will now take place on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month (breaking for holidays) through the negotiations process. The Association (teachers) negotiating team and the CSSU Board negotiating team hope to exchange proposals in early November. While the negotiation meetings are not open to the public, the group will continue to share information about the negotiations process as it is feasible to do so.
On Sept. 11, the combined school boards of CSSU held a Negotiations 101 training session that can be viewed on the RETN website at www.retn.org/show/cssu-school-board-meeting-september-11-2013. The Negotiations 101 portion of the meeting begins one hour and five minutes into the video with a PowerPoint presentation by Cindy Koenemann-Warren, director of human resources at CSSU.