The Walton County School District and the Education Association are moving along with the process of impasse. Friday morning, the two parties held a special hearing in hopes of finally ending negotiations. No decision was made Friday but each party was given one last chance to present arguments to support their proposals.
The Teachers Union and the District have been negotiating contract terms and teacher salaries for the last few months before declaring impasse. The reason the parties haven't reached a decision is because the district was given money from Governor Rick Scott to go into the base salary pay for school employees. The District and the Union tentatively agreed in February to split that money between teachers and non-instructional staff. But the District's attorney at Friday's hearing says the money from Governor Scott has caused several districts to pro-long the negotiation process. "It's an unusual allotment of money and who gets it is just not well defined in the law", said Attorney Leonard Dietzen.
When the tentatively agreed proposal went out for a vote, the teachers voted it down which brought them back to the table, each party with a new proposal. When they couldn't reach an agreement, the district declared impasse, bringing the parties in front of a special magistrate this morning. No decision was reached Friday because each party decided to submit briefs and receive a written response in return, on May 12th.
Leonard Dietzen said, "I think all of our exhibits demonstrate that the board is beyond generous and cannot afford the unions proposal."
"I hope that at the end of this process, the impasse, I hope the magistrate comes back with an offer, it's not a decision, but something that both sides can be happy with", said Sandra Butler, negotiator for the Education Association.