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No Resolution After Final Boston Teacher Talks

This article is more than 11 years old.

After 22 months, contract negotiations between Boston Public Schools and the union representing its 5,000 teachers have collapsed. A state mediator will now step in to resolve the impasse over a new contract for Boston's teachers.

It all came down to a final few days of talks, culminating with a marathon 15-hour overnight session that ended early Tuesday morning.

The proposal from the Boston Teachers Union called for an 11 percent raise over five years. The city's school department said that would cost more than $180 million.

Superintendent Carol Johnson says the district increased its offer to an 8 percent pay hike over the same period, at a cost of $124 million.

"Unfortunately, throughout this entire process, we continue to be bogged down with trying to find enough resources," Johnson said. "We really could not reach closure on an agreement that really would have signaled a real breakthrough."

Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, says a key stumbling block was a school department proposal extending the school day for elementary and middle schools by 45 minutes. While the proposal included an additional $2,200 per teacher, per year, to cover the extra pay, Stutman says the proposal was insulting.

"They wanted us to work an extra 45 minutes for $13 every day, and many of us pay babysitters $12 to $15 an hour," Stutman said. "So to work for $13 and pay out $12 to $15, would be a foolish thing for us to do."

It will now be up to a state mediator to help the Boston school department hammer out a new contract with the union.

Stutman says he expects mediation to start at soon as possible and could take a year or two.

Teachers are still working under the contract that expired in August 2010.

Updated with the Morning Edition feature version

This article was originally published on April 03, 2012.

This program aired on April 3, 2012.

Delores Handy Reporter
Delores Handy was formerly a host and reporter at WBUR.



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