Only three bargaining sessions needed for School Board, teachers union to reach agreement

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QUINCY — Sayeed Ali and Brandi Many got their assignments done early this year.

Negotiators for the Quincy School Board and the Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Personnel reached a tentative agreement last Thursday on a one-year contract. Ali, the Board president, and Many, the teacher subgroup president for the teachers union, signed the deal, as did Shelley Arns, Board vice president, and Corey Loos, vice president of the teachers union.

Only three sessions were needed to reach an agreement.

 “I hope they are all like this moving forward, because this was nice,” said Many, who was part of the contract negotiations for the first time.

“My dance card is pretty open right now,” Ali said. “Going from maybe nine or 10 months (of negotiations) a handful of years ago to this, I would say our working relationship has really grown.”

Members of the Quincy Federation will see the proposal for the first time Tuesday night and will vote on it through Wednesday morning. Approval of the contract is on the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting of the Quincy School Board. The contract covers teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, food service employees, transportation employees, secretaries and security.

Contract details won’t be made public until both sides vote. However, both Ali and Many said discussions focused on pay and benefits.

“We were pretty happy with the language,” said Many, who teaches an advanced placement physics course and is the remote learning teacher for the sophomore class at Quincy High School. “We just wanted to show appreciation for this year and how hard this year was, especially when we were fully in person.”

Ali said union officials meet regularly with Ryan Whicker, chief of business operations, and Lisa Otten, director of personnel, to go over the school’s finances.

“So when we get to the point where we’re talking (about a contract), there aren’t any surprises on either side,” he said. “There is a lot of transparency between the board and the union. Both sides are pretty well aware of what our capabilities are, what our vision is, what our goals are. When you take out those variables and surprises, it just runs a lot smoother.”

The current contract will expire on June 30. Both sides opted for a one-year deal rather than try to duplicate the four-year pact that was ratified in November 2017 because of uncertainty in state funding.

“With the time that we live in and the way things are, we really needed more information before we extended that contract out another year,” Many said.

“We just don’t know what the next 24 or 36 months are going to look like,” Ali said.

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