About 400 teachers in Vermont’s largest city went on strike last week, two weeks after the school district imposed contract terms and a day after a bargaining session failed to reach an agreement.
Teachers picketed outside Burlington’s six elementary schools, two middle schools, and the high school, while about 4,000 students had an unexpected day off early in the school year.
Burlington Education Association President Fran Brock said the two sides had been making progress on economic issues they disagreed on, such as a pay increase. Brock said the main sticking point in the negotiations is scheduling time for teachers to prepare outside the classroom and to work one-on-one with students.
In a recent statement, the school board said the two sides had “resolved operational issues” at the high school. The board offered teachers an 8 percent pay increase, a three-year contract, and additional health insurance savings, but the union rejected them and chose instead to strike, according to the statement. Brock denied the board had offered the raise. There are no immediate plans for more negotiations.
The school board voted Sept. 1 to impose contract terms on the teachers. In neighboring South Burlington teachers are also working under an imposed contract.
It’s the first strike in the Burlington school district since the late 1970s.
A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2017 edition of Education Week as Burlington, Vt., Teachers Strike Seeking Raises, More Planning Time