'Positive movement' is seen in teacher contract negotiations

Shawn Hardy

An agreement has not been reached, but the Greencastle-Antrim School District superintendent is indicating "a level of positive movement" in contract talks between the school board and the Greencastle-Antrim Education Association at Monday night's negotiating session.

Another round of talks is planned Monday, April 2, just before the teachers are scheduled to strike on Wednesday, April 4.

"While I remain hopeful, that this positive movement will continue, I also believe it is important to keep you informed," Dr. Kendra Trail wrote in a letter sent to parents Tuesday afternoon.

It updates parents on the strike notification process as students head into Easter break. Last week, Trail said she would send information via SchoolMessenger at least 48 hours in advance of a strike, but the next negotiating session cuts into that window.

"Due to the fact that the next negotiation session is scheduled for Monday, April 2, 2018, at 5:00 PM, I will send a message on the following morning regardless of the outcome, so that everyone will be notified if a work stoppage will be occurring or one has been averted," Trail wrote.

Last week, Trail gave an overview of district plans if there is a strike and she said there have been questions regarding athletics and extracurricular activities in the event of a work stoppage.

"The district will make every effort to move those activities forward as planned, as long as current coaches, including those who are teachers, and/or volunteers are willing to continue serving in that capacity," she said.

School are dismissing early today and students will return on Tuesday, April 3.

The 181-member GAEA is planning to strike on Wednesday, April 4, if there is not an agreement.

The contract talks started more than a year ago and teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, reading specialists and librarians who belong to GAEA have been working under the terms of a contract that expired Aug. 31, 2017.

In December, the teachers voted twice to accept the terms of a fact-finder's report, which the board rejected twice.