School Board Prez Ritchie Webb just issued this statement about Thursday's meeting with the NFT . . .
"Negotiating session #26 took place last night and lasted about two hours. The main agenda item was the Board's proposal for self insurance, which the NFT did not yet agree to but said they will consider. They did not indicate when they will render a decision on the Board's proposal that will offer the district significant savings.
The major issues have not changed. Health care plan options, employee contributions to health care premiums, retro pay, and salary increases were discussed but neither side made concessions.
Both agreed to meet again on December 28, 2010, 6pm at Maple Point."
Maybe I should be happy that both sides continue to talk, but talks without progress translate into a waste of time in my book. Maybe I'm disappointed that Louise Boyd didn't make at least some token gesture to show that employee health care contributions were truly on the bargaining table. Yes, I naïvely hoped she might throw out some sort of lowball number, like 5%-7%, just to inject some life into these stalled negotiations. But alas, that was not to be. And it looks like my cautious optimism will remain just that - cautious, perhaps with the growing sentiment of skepticism mixed in.
A quick note of thanks to all of you who continue to write emails of support to me and my fellow board members. Your kind words of praise have helped us maintain our focus during these lengthy, exhaustive negotiations.