Officials: Teacher contract talks nearly settled

Officials: Teacher contract talks nearly settled

SMITHFIELD -- A contract for Smithfield teachers should be in place very soon, school officials were indicating at midweek.

In a phone interview with The Valley Breeze & Observer, Supt. Robert O'Brien said that the ongoing negotiations for a contract have been "going very well," and that he is more than "optimistic" that a deal will be settled by the next school committee meeting on Sept. 2. The current contract expires on Sept. 1.

"There are still a couple of things to work on," O'Brien said, but added that he sees no major issues.

In the off-chance that negotiations are not settled by the beginning of the month, O'Brien said that he has "no plan B."

School Committee Chairman Richard Iannitelli added that negotiations would continue as normal until a conclusion was reached, but that he is also "optimistic" that a contract will be ready for the meeting on Sept. 2.

The Smithfield School Committee began negotiating a new teacher contract in March.

"Negotiations have been tough," O'Brien said, adding that the School Committee and the teacher's union have "worked very well towards a resolution."

In August 2011, teachers signed a three-year contract which provided no raises for the first two years and a 2 percent increase in the third year.

Michael Twohey, teacher union NEA Smithfield's local president, could not be immediately reached for comment.