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Talks resume with striking Vt. teachers

October 19, 2011

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BENNINGTON, Vt.—Striking teachers and the school boards in a southwestern Vermont school district resumed negotiations Wednesday, 12 hours after the two sides failed to reach a contract agreement in a lengthy session.

The two sides met Wednesday afternoon following nearly 16 hours of unsuccessful negotiations that ended around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Teachers went on strike shortly after.

"We are beyond disappointed in the boards," said Stephannie Peters, president of the Southwestern Vermont Education Association, which represents 270 of the district's teachers. "We really thought they meant it when they said they wanted to reach a settlement with us."

The issues separating the two sides include salaries and health care benefits.

The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union said board negotiators left the meeting "disheartened and frustrated that Association negotiators decided to terminate negotiations rather than discuss the board team's last detailed offer for a one year contract for the current year."

The schools in Bennington, Shaftsbury and Pownal were closed on Wednesday.

Union members voted to authorize a strike last week.