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Holland teachers seek negotiations

Dressed in black, members of the Holland Teachers Association attended the Holland School Board meeting Monday to show their displeasure over stalled negotiations with the district.

According to association President Linda Herraez, the teachers have been without a contract since June 2008. She said they have been at a stalemate since May.

"We really need to get back to the table," she said. "These are not just money issues we're dealing with."

She claimed that one of the chief stumbling blocks has been the district's tactic of "packaging" items. Two will be acceptable points, the union president said, but then the third item will be unacceptable.

Interim Superintendent David Kurzawa said the administration is talking with its labor relations team concerning dates to meet with union representatives.

In March 2006, an agreement between the board and faculty was reached after the teachers had been without a contract for more than a year.

In other action, the board approved hiring Roy McMaster of Fiscal Advisors and Marketing on a contractual basis to develop and project a three-year budget for the district.

Kurzawa said McMaster, who has worked with other districts across the state, will offer Holland officials a good picture of expenses and revenues and suggest adjustments the district should make to stay on sound financial ground.

The contract allows for a maximum of $6,000 plus travel expenses.

The board also approved $22,000 for a building condition survey. Every school district in the state has been mandated to complete the comprehensive review within the next 18 months, trustee Fred Thurnherr said.

"We know we're going to have a capital project in the coming months," he said. "But without a five-year plan, we're shooting in the dark; we don't know where we're going. This should put us ahead of the game."

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