Negotiations between the Carroll County Board of Education and five employee unions are taking longer than anyone had expected.
Both sides have agreed not to comment on the negotiations, which are due to resume today, but school board President Joseph D. Mish Jr. acknowledged yesterday they are not going well.
"We have nothing to offer" [the unions], he said.
Mr. Mish confirmed that the talks have expanded beyond the original two issues: concession of all or part of a 3 percent raise the employees negotiated last year with the board, and the employee share of medical insurance costs. He declined to elaborate.
Union leaders and the county school board voted last month to close the traditionally open contract talks so they could wrap them up quickly without the complication of public scrutiny.
Public hearings on the budget attracted hundreds of parents and students to protest possible cuts to music and gifted education programs. An alternative to those cuts was to return to the bargaining table to renegotiate a contract with the unions.
Employee unions agreed they had no alternative and spoke of making a united front with the board in the face of tight state and county budgets.
Before the first session, Assistant Superintendent William Hyde had said he hoped it could be accomplished in one day.
Carroll County Education Association President Ralph Blevins had expected the negotiations to take a little longer, he said, but not much.
Pub Date: 4/11/96