Negotiations between the Washington Teachers Union and the D.C. School Board continued yesterday but both sides said they were still far from reaching a contract settlement.
None of the major issues separateing the board and the union -- such as proposals for teachers to work a longer day and a longer year -- reached the bargaining table yesterday, according to persons involved in the talks, and no agreements had been reached on any proposals in the last two days of talks.
"All I can say," John Wagner, a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Concilliation Service said, "is that the parties are progressing well and I hope they continue to bargain..."
The talks are continuing despite the union's earlier threat to end negotiations and strike if the school board did not extend its contract past midnight Wednesday.
But William Simons, president of the union, said the teachers' group has not changed its position of refusing to negotiate without a contract.
"Who says we are negotiating without a contract?" said Simons, as he took his seat in the negotiating session yesterday. "I have not received any official notice from the board that they are not going to extend the contract. I can't accept what I see printed in the media."
On Monday the board announced that it had voted against extending the contract again despite Simons' statements that the union would stop negotiating and strike if the contract was allowed to expire.
However, the union has remained at the negotiations although the contract expired Wednesday. Union officials have said that a meeting of teacher representatives from every school in the city will be held Saturday to discuss a strike and the union's general membership could meet as early as Tuesday night to vote on giving union leaders strike authorization.