SUMMIT, NJ - One round of mediation is in the books, and the Summit Board of Education (BOE) and the Summit Education Association (SEA) -- the union that represents the district's teachers, secretaries, and custodians -- have each weighed in on the initial session.

In a prepared statement, the BOE said, "On October 8, the Board of Education and the Summit Education Association had their first session with a mediator in an effort to reach agreement on a new contract.  The mediator met separately with the Board and the Association to hear each group's position on key issues and to present her ideas on possible solutions.  

The Board believes that the session, which lasted over five hours, was constructive. The next mediation session will be held on December 15, the first available date for the mediator."
Speaking on behalf of the SEA, its President, Dan Miller, said. "There was rather limited progress at the mediation session on October 8.  The SEA is still looking for the Board to reach a reasonable settlement in line with state trends and recent settlements in Chatham and Madison."
The contract between the parties expired August 31  After beginning negotiations in December, 2013, the two sides reached declared an impasse this past Spring, and subsequently agreed to arbitration.  Kathleen Vogt, the mediator appointed by the Public Employment Relations Commission, is overseeing the process.
The issues separating the sides are economic. with the BOE holding to the State-mandated 2% cap, and the union seeking increases comparable with neighboring districts.