School Board Split on Further Negotiations
By Maria Hickey, KWMU
St. Louis, MO. – Three members of the St. Louis School Board are calling for further negotiations with the teachers' union.
Teachers Union Local 420 is set to vote on whether to accept the district's latest offer Tuesday afternoon or to go on strike Wednesday. The union's executive committee is recommending teachers reject the offer.
School board members Bill Haas, Veronica O'Brien, and Amy Hilgemann met with union officials Saturday for an informational meeting.
The three say their efforts to meet with the other four school board members this weekend failed.
Now Veronica O'Brien says they're taking their concerns to the public.
"I am confident that by doing this, the public will rally behind us the community and we will be able to force the four of them to do something," O'Brien said. "I just don't think, in this particular situation, that they're going to be allowed to continue like this."
Bill Haas says it would be better for the district to negotiate now than wait for a strike.
"They should realize that we can offer more in ways that are important to the union without jeopardizing the financial security of the district," Haas said, "and now's the time to do it, because the cost financial, emotional, and educational can be devastating."
Haas says one of the main sticking points is how to phase in longer school days and school year.
A district spokesperson says no new talks are scheduled.