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Fact-finding in Chesy teacher/board over; decision awaited

CHESAPEAKE – The fact-finding’s over; now Chesapeake teachers and the school board must wait for the results.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

CHESAPEAKE – The fact-finding’s over; now Chesapeake teachers and the school board must wait for the results.

The teachers union and school board representatives met last Thursday at the Grandview Inn in South Point with a fact-finder from the State Employees Relations Board.

During the hearing, the fact-finder reviewed information supplied to him by the local union and the school board. From that data, the fact-finder will render a decision about the issues the school board and the union cannot meet upon during the contract negotiations.

Larry Morgan, the president of the Chesapeake local union, said the fact-finder has 14 calendar days to submit his findings to both the board and to the teachers union. Both parties then have seven days from the postmark to vote on the issue.

The board and the union both retain the right to ignore the fact-finder’s decision. If the outcome is unsatisfactory, Chesapeake teachers could find themselves on the picket line after the Christmas holiday break.

Morgan said the teachers union has requested the fact-finder mail the findings as quickly as possible due to the upcoming Christmas holiday.

The decision isn’t required by the fact-finder until Dec. 21, but Morgan said, the fact-finder told the union he would try to have a decision to them by next week.

Teachers in the district have been working without a contract since August and have reached an impasse with the school board. Teachers are asking for a 4.5-percent raise in pay and fair share. Fair share requires teachers that are not members of the union to pay a fee equal to the amount of union dues. Morgan said the local teachers union has about a 90-percent membership.

The school board, however, only wants to give a 3-percent raise and increase the premium for the district’s health insurance. Morgan said the hike in medical insurance would offset the 3-percent raise. Morgan said that this was the first time the insurance issue was ever raised by the school board.