LIVERMORE FALLS — The local teachers' union is asking the RSU 73 board for more communication and trust as the two sides face mediation sessions this week on a new contract.
Negotiations for a new agreement with the RSU 73 Education Association began in September 2011. The issue will will move to mediation Thursday and Friday, March 21 and 22.
Sally Speich, a science teacher at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay, said after Thursday’s board meeting that contract talks began a month or so after RSU 36 and the Jay School Department voted to consolidate, putting Livermore Falls, Livermore and Jay in one district.
She said a significant difference remains between the contracts from the former districts. None of the issues are public at this time.
“We’re trying to avoid fact-finding,” she said.
Teacher Sue St. Pierre was among the more than two dozen staff members who attended Thursday's board meeting.
“I am a taxpayer, parent and staff member," she told directors. "The teachers here represent hundreds of years of experience. I ask the board to trust the teachers.
“We are all on the same team with the same goals," she said. "We ask you to respect and trust us. An open line of communication is crucial. Trust us and we’ll accomplish great things.”
A group of teachers has attended board meetings or workshops the past few months.
The teachers' contract is among several major issues the board is dealing with. Directors are developing a 2013-14 budget and overseeing a $1.8 million building project for Spruce Mountain high and middle schools in Jay and the Jay Community Building. That project will allow the Spruce Mountain High School students in Livermore Falls to join their counterparts in Jay in the fall.