Negotiations between the Evergreen School District and its teachers union have been halted, with the two sides preparing to submit their arguments to a fact-finding panel.
Since last fall the district and Evergreen Teachers Association had been meeting with a state-appointment mediator, who released them to fact-finding this month.
A fact-finding panel, which will include a representative of each side plus one neutral member, is expected to convene within months to hear the parties' "last best offer." The panel will offer a recommended -- but non-binding -- settlement. If that is not accepted, the district then can impose its best offer, and the union is permitted to call a strike.
In a letter to parents, the Evergreen board of trustees wrote, "Under this proposal Evergreen employees' compensation would continue to be among the top in the valley and the district would begin to see some reduction in its rate of deficit spending."
Both Evergreen Superintendent Kathy Gomez and union President Brian Wheatley said they remain optimistic.
The district and union have clashed over compensation and health benefits.