BURLINGTON — The Burlington School Board is crying foul because it says the city’s teachers union is refusing to hold public negotiations for its upcoming contract.
“The people of Burlington want transparency,” said board Chair Mark Porter in a statement Monday. “We’ve made a concerted effort from the beginning to follow the same open negotiation process that many other school districts in Vermont have begun, but the (Burlington Education Association) has not agreed to hold contract talks in public, in response to our many requests to do so.”
The Vermont School Boards Association says nearly 60 percent of teacher contracts currently in negotiations in the state are being hammered out publicly, according to the news release from the Burlington board.
BEA President Fran Brock did not return calls seeking comment Monday.
The two sides have been negotiating a new contract since last year, when talks yielded a one-year contract that ends in August. The union and the board are hoping to reach a longer contract at a time when virtually every board and union in the state are working on new contracts that address changes in health care benefits.
In Burlington, the board said it asked the union several times between October 2016 and February at closed bargaining sessions and in writing to allow public negotiations. The union refused, according to the news release.