Barrington teachers call in mediator to help negotiate with District 220
Updated: December 3, 2012 10:44AM
BARRINGTON — The Barrington Education Association, which represents District 220 teachers, has called in assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help break its contract impasse with the district.
The teachers union announced the move Tuesday night, at the conclusion of the most recent bargaining session, according to an email from the School Board.
The two bargaining teams have been meeting since March to come to terms on a new teachers contract. District 220 educators have been working under the terms of an expired deal.
“We still have some (disagreement) on working conditions and compensation,” said Melanie Collins, president of the Barrington Education Association, though could not discuss specifics.
“We were hoping not to get to this point, but we used a mediator last time and reached a settlement, so that is what we are expected to do.”
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is an independent, third-party resource hired at no cost to help resolve the remaining issues.
Brian Battle, president of the District 220 Board of Education, listed salaries, benefits and working conditions as the issues being discussed. He also said he was not at liberty to divulge further information.
“As the talks continue to go on, we’ll reassess a time to engage the public,” he said.
According to the School Board’s press release, the ongoing negotiations have been constructive, but the remaining issues have yet to be settled due largely to the uncertain economy.
“The Board of Education will join in this request and looks forward to reaching a settlement soon,” according to the School Board’s statement.
“This voluntary action will provide a neutral mediator to conduct meetings and coordinate discussions in the final stage of this important endeavor,” the District 220 letter continued. “Most importantly, the assistance intends to secure an agreement in the best interest of students, staff and community stakeholders.”
Battle added that he views the assistance of a mediator as a positive move to help the two sides come to an agreement. He pointed out that the mediator has yet to be assigned, and the district does not yet know the date the assignment will be announced.
“We will communicate the date to the community at that time,” he said.