The Nampa School District and its teachers’ union, the Nampa Education Association (NEA), could not reach an agreement Friday on next year’s contract terms. But the district will still send teachers their contracts. State law requires that contracts go out by July 1. However, they will be incomplete.
The state’s third largest district has been embroiled in a budget crisis since last summer. The district says it needs to trim more than $3 million through this labor agreement.
The sides have come together on some big issues. Friday, NEA negotiators agreed to the district’s request for teachers to take 14 furlough days. The union leaders see that as major concession.
But the sides remain divided on several key areas including proposed changes to benefits. The district could likely impose its last offer but interim superintendent Pete Koehler says he wants to continue negotiations.
“It’s not common but it’s certainly not rare that a district operates without a master agreement,” Koehler says. “It’s day-to-day work, everything goes on.”
District and NEA negotiators will meet again in late July and negotiations could extend well into the school year.
Friday’s session ended on a note of discord. NEA president Mandy Simpson accused the district of not negotiating in good faith. Afterward she declined an interview saying she was too emotional to talk.
In an e-mail Simpson writes:
“In spite of our frustration, we intend to return to the table July 18 to continue negotiating toward a mutually agreeable settlement. The students and citizens of Nampa deserve high-quality public education and district leadership that is responsive and willing to negotiate in good faith.”
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