Concord teachers absent at back to school nights, citing lack of contract agreement with district 

  • Rundlett Middle School, looking down a hallway of sixth-grade classrooms on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

Monitor staff
Published: 9/13/2018 5:33:28 PM

Family members attending “Back to School” nights in Concord this week may have noticed that a few central figures were missing from their meetings.

Several parents in the Concord School District received emails that their children’s teachers would not be attending the events – where parents have the opportunity to meet their children’s teachers and learn about their class schedules – because they are working without a new contract.

“Every year, we volunteer our time to meet our students’ parents. Sadly, this year we have not been able to reach a settlement with the Concord School District,” read a letter sent out to parents of children at Rundlett Middle School. “This is one way that we, as teachers, can stand united in our desire to reach a settlement.”

Concord School District employees’ contracts expired June 30, school officials said. School Board Vice President Jennifer Patterson said the board had meet with union representatives close to 20 times during the past year to discuss the contract, but they had not come to an agreement. She declined to say what was holding up a resolution, citing personnel matters.

Patterson said the board would be meeting again Monday night in closed session to discuss the contracts.

“We’re confident that we are moving toward coming to an agreement,” Patterson said.

Concord Superintendent Terri Forsten said she had not heard of any teachers missing actual school hours because of the lack of a contract agreement.

“Sometimes, you’ll see teachers coming to work at the time that is designated in their contract and leave work at the time that is designated in the contract,” she said. “That is happening somewhat now, but it’s not pervasive.”

In their letter to parents, the Rundlett teachers said if parents had an urgent need to speak to them about an issue concerning their child that they could make a “mutually convenient” arrangement to do so.

“We understand that this is an inconvenience, and hope that you can understand that this decision did not come easily for us, as we work hard as educators and have your child’s best interest in mind,” they wrote. “Our main goal, as professionals, is to serve the students and parents of the Concord community.”

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