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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

USEP to district: Let's mediate instead



Just 10 days ago, the United School Employees of Pasco announced it had reached an impasse with the Pasco school district over contract negotiations. It asked for a magistrate to help the sides reach an agreement.

Now, the group is having second thoughts. Not about the impasse, but about the magistrate.

After meeting with a bargaining specialist this week, USEP leaders decided that bringing in a mediator might be the better route to a deal. Union president Lynne Webb sent the new request to the administration, asking for a response by Monday.

"Mediation will be less costly and contentious than a Magistrate hearing [and] … will expedite resolving our outstanding bargaining issues for both the teachers and SRP," Webb wrote.

How likely is it that the district will answer by Monday? Well, the School Board has scheduled an executive session on negotiations for Tuesday, and the administration has said it does not consider the talks truly at impasse because it asked to delay negotiations.

The union's initial pay package remains the only one on the table. The board has not responded to that, either. And the fact is, in the end the board retains sole authority to impose whatever contract terms it adopts. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:02am]


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