For now, no teachers strike planned in South Burlington

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) No strike-- yet-- in South Burlington. That's the word from teachers after a meeting late Wednesday afternoon. The union says it's hopeful the school board will come back to the table after teachers rejected the imposed contract.

Teachers say they are refusing to accept the school board's latest decision to impose employment conditions last week. Board clerk Martin Lalonde, who met with us prior to the association's announcement, says they felt it was necessary.

"We just didn't see the kind of movement toward a reasonable compromise in advance of school starting, so we decided we needed to impose terms before school started," Lalonde said.

The conditions would apply to one year and include a more than $1,600 raise on average for educators. Health care prices would remain the same. The South Burlington Educators Association met Wednesday to discuss their plans and formally rejected the imposition.

"Our vote today should send a strong signal to the board that the men and women who teach the city's children prefer an approach that leads to healing and certainty. We are calling on the board to rescind its imposition and employment terms and get back to the table," said Noah Everitt, a special educator at South Burlington High School.

Educators say their main issues with contracts were salary and health care.

This is not the first time the board has voted on an imposition. The last time was in 2011.

"There were two new school board members, and we went back to the table after with these new members and were able to come to an agreement. This year it's a little bit different," Lalonde said.

Educators say they will not back down.

"We are passionate people who have dedicated our professional lives to the students of this district. We are proud of what we and everyone involved in our schools have accomplished. The board's decision to once again impose employment conditions puts that all at risk," Everitt said.

So again, the educators association says that for now no strike is planned. They are waiting for the board's response before they decide what to do next.