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Negotiators move ahead in E.C. teachers', district talks

May 30, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

El Centro Elementary Teachers' Association negotiators met with the El Centro Elementary School District's negotiators Friday in an attempt to reach a contract agreement.

Michael Klentschy, district superintendent, said the negotiators are "positive and are making progress."

He said the teams met at the Uniserve office in Imperial from 10 a.m. to nearly 11 p.m. Friday.

"We feel like there has been movement made," said Bruce Roberts, president of the ECETA.

Added Klentschy: "Both groups were very professional in dealing with the issues.

"Because of the nature of the issues involved, it's a slow process," he said.

Klentschy said the district remains "optimistic and confident" the negotiators will reach a settlement.

Roberts said, "Some progress has been made."

He continued, "The atmosphere was different this time … the conversation was less confrontational, less like a negotiation. Each side was more receptive.

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"It was better all around," said Roberts, adding, "We have to feel good about this."

Klentschy said, "The goal of the district is to have the whole matter resolved by the time school gets out."

Roberts echoed the sentiment, "Our goal is to have this resolved by the end of the school year."

He said, "That's the reason for doing all of this … it's just not good to have this go on."

While a tentative agreement was not reached Friday, the negotiating teams are scheduled to meet again June 6, with the object of reaching an agreement.

"We are making progress on the unresolved issues, and both groups need to be commended," said Klentschy.

"We're as close as we can be without actually signing off," said Roberts of the possibility of a tentative agreement being reached soon.

He said if an agreement is not reached June 6, it should be reached shortly thereafter.

Both groups are scheduled to continue the "fact-finding" process June 18, but if an agreement is reached before that date, the hearing would not continue.

"I do believe we're going to have resolution before the end of the year," repeated Roberts, adding, "We're hopeful."

The last time the negotiators met was in January.

The school year for students ends June 20.

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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