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NFT Does Not Vote on 'Final Offer;' Urges Board to Continue Talks

The Neshaminy Federation of Teachers did not vote on the school board's "final offer" Tuesday night, but union members want to continue negotiating with the board on remaining issues.

Nearly 400 members of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers met Wednesday night where leaders shared with them the details of the Neshaminy School Board's "final offer."

During that meeting, NFT members accepted the negotiation team's recommendation to not take action on the school board's offer, "with an overwhelmingly majority of those at the meeting rejecting a motion calling for a formal vote on the school district’s offer," as stated in a union press release.

The school board's offer, which is based on the Council Rock's contract, would eliminate several contract provisions "that are key to educational quality in the Neshaminy School District." Some of those provisions include equal say and past practice -- two items that school board members have vowed to eliminate from a new teachers contract.

"Any contract that takes away control from the school district is not a good contract," board member Anthony Sposato said of equal say in a November 2012 meeting, adding that he would vote against a contract that included equal voice.

In a letter to the editor, school board President Ritchie Webb wrote that the combination of equal say and past practice "gives the NFT de facto veto power over administration."

The decision to not vote on the school board's offer, members of the NFT bargaining team stated in a press release, is "tantamount to a rejection of the board’s latest offer."

When the school board's negotiation team was under the impression that the NFT would bring its final offer before the rank and file teachers for a vote, Webb stated that the school board will release the details of its proposal to the public for review and comment and will then vote on the proposal at a public meeting.

However, if the offer is not approved by NFT membership, the board will withdraw the proposal.

"We continue to put our faith in the negotiating process," NFT President Louise Boyd said in a press release.

"And the membership’s acceptance tonight of our recommendation against a strike or other job action at this time is evidence of the NFT's commitment to working out the few remaining differences through dialogue in negotiations," she stated.

Boyd added that a strike "at some point before the end of the school year remains an active possibility," but that union leaders believe that "an agreement is within reach if the two sides continue their talks."

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