Discussions between the Fairfax County school administration and its largest teachers' group, the Fairfax Education Association (FEA), have been extended an additional month, into January.
Although teachers have complained privately that negotiations have been moving sluggishly, they have been reluctant to make that displeasure public.
Earlier this week a message on the FEA telephone Hotline took a new turn.
"Discussions between our . . . team and the superintendent's representatives concerning our instructional and personnel policy concerns have been extended into January," FEA President Bill Costello said in the recorded message. "However, these discussions are proceeding very slowly which raises real questions about the superintendent's commitment to the discussions' procedure." q
Warren Eisenhower, who heads the administration team at the discussions, said he was surprised by the comments.
"I haven't heard that from any of the representatives (from the FEA)," said Eisenhower.
Although Eisenhower said he believed the discussions had been fruitful, he noted, ". . . a great many issues that they want us to decide on will take a great deal of work and a great deal of study."
Among the topics the FEA representatives say are of major importance are educational staff transfer policies, teacher evaluations, filling of vacancies and the question of supplemental pay for elementary teachers.
Costello said he was discouraged by the talks, which he says have yielded few benefits for teachers.
"It's been difficult to get a meaningful response from them (school officials) on any of the issues of importance to teachers," Costello said.