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Teachers Enter Talks 'hopeful'

Teachers Enter Talks 'hopeful' image
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The Ann Arbor Education Association, in a statement released today, said it is resuming non-binding negotiations with the administration with "both the confidence of a united membership, and the cautious optimism of a hopeful one." Bargaining resumed Tuesday. Another session is scheduled for tonight. The AAEA emphasized it had taken its current stand on the contract dispute because of individual teacher's duties as "professional educators . . . committed to maintaining the highest standards feasible within the capabilities of our system, and to strive, cons t a n 1 1 y to improve those standards . . ." The A A E A explained, however, that its h i g h e s t priorities in bargaining were non-economie issues such as clas,c size which the teachers feit directly related to their abilities to give Ann Arbor children a quality education. "It should be made absolutely clear, however, that the brief delay in the commencemenl. of the current school yeár was not related, in any way, to the issue of salary. The AAEA proposed the school year should commence on scïiedule, since we could not agree on me amounts of funds available for expenditure, and that the issue should be subjected to binding factfinding. The administration refused. We, then, proposed that the issue be subject to non-binding fact-finding. The administration refused. We tried simply settling on class sizes, and commencing classes w h i 1 e negotiations wert-, continued. The administration still refused. The administration was unwilling, initially, to allow the school year to commence until all aspects of the contract were settled." The AAEA statement also said the budget presented by the administration during the August negotiations was different from the one presented to the fact finder. "When a truce was finally effected, pending non-binding fact finding, it was agreed that the Board should be 'bound by the terms of the 1970-71 agreement covering unsettled items.' We s o o n learned that this was less than precise. At the end of Phase I of the wage price freeze, teachers were denied a salary schedule commensurate with their actual experience as specified by t h e agreement, but were paid on last year's experience level."