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Open Teacher Pact Talks - Warner

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It has been proposed by Ann Arbor Board of Education President Cecil Warner that the board and the Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA) begin bargaining in an open session tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the Public Library. The AAEA, which did not receive Warner's request until noon today, has not yet had an opportunity to respond to the proposal. Warner's statement read as follows: "I have asked that the negotiation teams of both the board and the AAEA begin bargaining tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the Public Library Meeting Roo m, and continue to do so every day until progress is reached at the bargaining table. I have further asked that these bargaining sessions be open to the press and the public. I made these requests for the following reasons : "1) The board would like to reach a contract agreement with the AAEA as soon as possible. "2) The board agrees with the state f act finder, Prof. Keith. Groty, that we should try to reach a contract settlement at the table rather than wait for his recommendations. "3) If I were a citizen not directly involved in the negotiation process of this school district, I would be extremely confused about what I have heard and read concerning that process dating back to as far as last summer. The board has been saying that the only issues are economie: salary and fringe kbenefits. In its last economie offer the board proposed that class sizes remain the same. That would mean that the permanent substitutes would be given contracts and become members of the bargaining unit. At the same time I hear and read the AAEA saying its highest priorities in bargaining are non-economie issues such as class size (Ann Arbor News, page 3, Thursday, Dec. 9, 1971). "Last summer the board said that the budget was tight, but the AAEA was saying that we had a large surplus, perhaps as great as 1.6 million dollars. Later the state fact finder determined and stated the school district did not have a 1.6 million dollar surplus let alone a large surplus at all. "Last September, the AAEA was saying that it did not want to cause the school district to go into deficit spending or cut programs and services. They feit the school district had more money than was being disclosed by the administration and they wanted a fact-finder to determine whether that was true. The fact-finder has now validated the budget by indicating that it contains no great discrepancies. Yet I do not hear the AAEA saying they will now settle for the - money that is available as they were telling the public last September. "Therefore, based upon the confusión that has existed throughout the negotiations, I feel the only way the Board and the AAEA can maintain any sort of credibility with the citizens of this community is for all future bargaining sessions to be open to the press and the public," said Warner. In a statement relased prior to the board's request, the association said that it had developed several proposals indicating movement t o w a r d reaching agreement. "We are prepared to present such proposals indicating movement when the board's team indicates real forward movement toward settlement, stated the AAEA. "The board made a ftew offer on Dec. 9 of $620,000 including $40,000 worth of program cuts while on Sept. 4 they made an offer of $630,000 without cuts. These backward movements are not meaningful negotiations," the AAEA continued. According to the association, "The board's last offer was based on staff reduction of 45 teachers (down from last year) equaling $580,000; plus $40,000 in I cuts. Actual staff reduction is 53, I ing $680,000 'available' without cuts." "The key issue in September, after the I board's rights and staff reduction issues I were settled, were the negotiating I tices of the board's team, class size, and salary. The board's team is still making no effort toward agreement; there are still 27 permanent substitutes who bear witness that the board has not agreed to class size, and salary is not settled," the AAEA stated. It was further stated by the AAEA that during fact finding hearings "Groty noted that the AAEA appeared to have presented good evidence that the board's money offers had been misleading at the table and that the board should have budgeted equitable salaries for its personnel before adding new programs."