POLAND — The Regional School Unit 16 board of directors approved a three-year contract for teachers Monday night, but details will not be released until it’s ratified by the teachers union.

Negotiations began in the spring.

The current contract expires at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Negotiations for a contract with 19 school bus drivers have been at an impasse since May 2017. The district’s offer then was a 1.5 percent pay raise, the loss of 10 vacation days and a 2.5 percent increase in drivers’ health insurance payments.

Earlier this year, drivers signed on to have Teamsters Local 340 represent them.

Both sides have gone to the Maine Labor Relations Board to arrange for fact-finding services.

State statute provides that if the recommendations of the fact-finding panel do not result in the parties settling on a collective bargaining agreement within a specified period, the parties may obtain arbitration services from the Board of Arbitration and Conciliation by submitting a joint request.

A fact-finding meeting is scheduled Sept. 30.

After an executive session to discuss negotiations with the Teamsters, board of directors Chairwoman Mary Martin announced, “We want to assure everyone who has the concern that the entire board has been advised on the status of these negotiations.”

Martin said the school board has authorized the negotiating team to work on a proposal.

In a related school transportation matter, former RSU 16 Director Terri Arsenault of Mechanic Falls suggested holding a community forum to discuss transportation route changes that have been criticized by parents and resulted in an apology from Superintendent Ken Healey that the rollout was “poorly done.”

Among parents’ concerns were notification of the changes less than 24 hours before schools opened and 4- and 5-year-olds a mile from the nearest bus stop.

“People want to be heard,” Arsentault said, adding a forum would give them the sense that what they say matters.

“And that counts for a lot,” she said.

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