Fairfax County School Board Chairman Rodney F. Page yesterday tersely rejected charges that the board conducted illegal bargaining sessions with county teachers as "false and misleading."
The charges came from John F. Herrity, head of the Fairfax supervisors who claimed in an interview that the school board's dealings with teacher groups have violated Virginia's ban of collective bargaining with public employes.
Page yesterday defended the school system's dealing with Fairfax Education Association over wages and working conditions and said the "communications procedure" was implemented with approval of the state attorney general and with the full knowledge of the Fairfax supervisors.
"It is clear to us there are no illegal negotiations going on between the school board and the FEA" [Fairfax Education Association] said Page. And in fact the discussions were between school staff and the FEA . . . which we believe to be incomplete compliance with state law.
"I think it's fair to say . . . the school board was encouraged by the board of supervisors to continue discussions with the FEA through our staff and through this communications procedure," he said at a news conference.
Page said Herrity's allegations came at a crucial time in the schools' budget process and he feared Herrity's charges could hurt chances of a proposed spending increase -- if allowed to go unanswered.