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ANWSD contract talks at impasse

VERGENNES — Collective bargaining talks between the Addison Northwest School District board and district teachers on a contract for the 2020-2021 school year and possibly beyond have reached an impasse, according to a Tuesday press release from ANWSD Superintendent Sheila Soule. 
According to the press release the ANWSD board and the Addison Northwest Teachers’ Association have met six times since October without reaching a deal for a one-year or multi-year contract. 
As a result, both the board and the union have decided to call for the services of a neutral mediator to resolve the outstanding major issues, which Soule said were salary, work hours, the use of personal leave, and the length of the contract.
Soule said the board’s last offer for a salary increase was 1% for a one-year contract, while the teachers’ union was seeking an increase of 3.75% and other considerations for a two-year contract, or a 4.5% increase for a one-year term. 
According to Soule, declaring impasse is a recognition that third-party assistance will be helpful in moving the negotiations forward. The parties will invite a neutral mediator to facilitate negotiations. 
If both parties cannot come to an agreement, then a fact-finding process will begin. The fact-finder could issue a non-binding advisory report within 60 days. Soule said board representatives are eager to meet with the mediator and union representatives and remain hopeful that an agreeable contract can be finalized as soon as possible.

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