Budget compromise could create problems in HUUSD

  • Published in News

The Harwood Union Unified School District (HUUSD) has not started negotiating its contracts with the district’s teachers. However, the deal the board makes could have consequences for the school district taxpayers.

The state Legislature and Governor Phil Scott reached a compromise late in June to settle their dispute over teacher health care negotiations. The governor wanted the state to negotiate health care contracts with teachers from around the state and when that was not included in the budget, he vetoed it.

The compromise will reduce payments to local school districts by $13 million. If school districts and their teachers cannot agree to an 80/20 percent split on health care premiums, then the school district will have to cut its budget by an equivalent amount.

At this time Brigid Nease, superintendent at Washington West Supervisory Union, did not know how much the school would have to cut.

“We have notified the [Agency of Education] for answers and they have asked us to wait until further guidance can be provided and calculations can be done to indicate the amount of money we will need to find in our FY 18 budget,” Nease said in an email.

Many other school districts have already agreed to new contracts. However, teachers in The Valley did not begin negotiating with the HUUSD this spring because they wanted all discussion to be in executive session.

The two groups finally met for the first time on June 1, in executive session. They agreed to ground rules and they set a schedule. Each side will present their first proposals by August 24 and they will meet again on August 31.