Milford budget committee asks court to cancel special meeting

MILFORD – The school district’s Advisory Budget Committee has asked a superior court judge to disallow an emergency meeting to resolve a teachers’ contract stalemate.

“We felt more concessions from teachers” are needed, said budget committee Chairman Ron Carvell, considering the district’s $37 million budget and the need to bring costs under control.

An emergency meeting, he said, would mean that school district voters would decide an issue that should be part of negotiations.

Normally a fact-finder’s recommendation would be voted on at a regular annual district meeting, but the School Board and the Milford Teachers’ Association petitioned the court to hold a Deliberative Session on Aug. 4 and then a vote on Sept. 9, and the court allowed the meeting.

At a June 16 public hearing on the emergency meeting, a budget committee member and a selectmen criticized the school board for planning the meeting. School board Chairman Paul Dargie said he spoke to the school district’s lawyer and decided he would continue with the plan for the emergency meeting.

On June 20, Carvell’s committee filed a motion with the court to intervene and to vacate the emergency meeting. Carvell said his committee is basically asking the court if it wants to hear more on the issue. He noted that two board members are opposed to the emergency meeting.

“We sat back a lot. We followed the process,” he said, then decided to intervene.

A fact-finder was called in last winter after negotiations reached an impasse and mediation failed.

The fact-finder recommended that teachers drop their request for a 2.25 cost-of-living adjustment in the contract’s third year, which they did, leaving the board’s proposal for a third health insurance tier for new employees the only sticking point. The third tier would cover employees who have not yet been hired at 80 percent, rather than 85 percent.

Teachers contend that asking people who do the same job to have different levels of health insurance is not fair.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@
cabinet.com.