There were two meetings on Monday, February 10, 2014 regarding the contract negotiations between the Sherrard Board of Education and Sherrard Education Association.
The first was a closed session for the Sherrard Board of Education. According to Sherrard Board of Education President Leslie Anderson, the meeting was held so the board could talk about where they are at in the negotiation process and what they plan to do next.
The meeting was held just one day after the Sherrard Education Association voted for their intent to strike. Anderson says that vote was not brought up in the meeting.
"Intent to strike, we really expected that, it's pretty common. We understand the reason why they would do that, it gives them the flexibility to take a strike vote," said Anderson.
Anderson said she is optimistic the two sides can come to a deal before a strike vote.
"I think there's a good opportunity for us to solve this, I think there is some very good dialogue, I think there is good direction and like I said, I'm optimistic that we'll be able to settle it," she said.
But on the other side, there was frustration and disappointment. The Sherrard Education Association believed they would meet with the Board in a separate meeting after the Board met privately to discuss transportation issues and their contract negotiations. However, Anderson said the second meeting was only to discuss transportation issues.
"We are incredibly disappointed tonight by what has occurred, we were led to believe this evening that the school board would be here to meet with us tonight and negotiate this contract, instead they chose, and we were also told that there would not be lawyers present, instead they chose to send two board members, interim superintendent and their board lawyer and that was all that attended this meeting," said Todd Volkert, a member of the Sherrard Education Association.
"We thought we'd be able to hammer this contract out tonight, and we were here ready to stay all night and as it turned out we were offered basically nothing this evening. They rejected our current three year proposal again, they offered no data on the universal pick up time and the staggered schedule time they have been proposing all along," he added.
Instead Volkert said nothing was accomplished except for scheduling a time when the two sides will meet again.
"We want to get this done we want to finish it so any day longer we have to do this is cutting it to close for us," he said.
The Sherrard Education Association and the Sherrard School Board will meet on February 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at an undetermined location. The Sherrard Education Association will meet February 23, 2014 to vote on whether or not to strike.