The collective bargaining agreement between the Northeastern School District school board and teachers is set to expire at the end of the month.
The two parties have been in negotiations since January and have not yet reached an agreement, said Superintendent Jody Nace after a school board meeting Monday night.
But, she added, the talks "are going smoothly."
If the agreement expires without being ratified by both sides, they are in effectively what is called "status quo," Ben Pratt, the board's chief negotiator wrote in a memo addressed to the board.
That means the terms and conditions of the soon-to-be expired agreement would remain in place until new one is reached.
No change: Operating under an expired agreement would mean that teachers' salaries would hold steady to those received during the 2011-12 school year, the memo states.
The district employees roughly 296 teachers, Nace said.
Also, the district would not be able to increase workdays, working hours, make modifications to health insurance or conditions of employment, according to the memo.
District administrators are also in the midst of ratifying its Act 93 Agreement with the board. That agreement is also set to expire on June 30.
Act 93 administrative team members, who include the superintendent, the assistant superintendent, principals and assistant principals, are afforded certain employee rights but are not a union.
If an agreement is not reached, administrators would receive the same pay they did during the 2011-12 school year and would make the same monthly health insurance contributions they did then.
'Austere environment': Coming on the heels of a budget season that saw seven teachers laid off, two teachers furloughed and other cost-saving measures taken to balance the budget, board member Mike Redding said the district has to think about its financial house moving forward.
"These are times of austere environments," he said. "I never hear about giving back. This may be a time to give back."
The district can't continue to spend money as it did in the past, Redding said. Adding he doesn't want to see additional teachers laid off.
Cameras: Also during the meeting, the board voted 7-1 to buy 10 video cameras, at a cost of roughly $10,0000, for school buses owned by F&S Transportation.
Board member Christine Hess voted against, and board member Linda Morningstar was not present at the meeting.
The district contracts services from the Manchester company, and five buses have cameras that aren't working and five spare buses don't have cameras, Nace said.
A number of board members raised concerns about the district paying for cameras that will be placed on buses the district doesn't own.
F&S hasn't been approached by the district to see if the company would foot some or all of the bill.
The contract with F&S is set to expire at the end of the 2012-13 school year, and the district is expected to request bids for services.
Some board members questioned if the district would be reimbursed for the cameras should the district go with another contractor in a couple of years.
Nace said that has to be worked out.
The cameras are needed for safety and liability, she said.
"I think we need to have operating cameras that are viewable on our buses," said board member Bill Gingerich.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.