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As Start Of School Draws Nearer, Newport Teachers Remain At An Impasse

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Newport teachers wrapped up two days of training Thursday before the new school year starts after Labor Day. But their contract talks remain at an...

Newport teachers wrapped up two days of training Thursday before the new school year starts after Labor Day. But their contract talks remain at an impasse. National Education Association of Rhode Island President Larry Purtill said there is still time to return to the bargaining table.

“Right now there’s nothing formally set up or any formal discussion but I would hope that would take place very quickly,” said Purtill.

The main sticking point is a contract provision that provides extra pay when class sizes go over the limit.

Purtill says the teachers don’t want the extra money, they want the district to adhere to the maximum number of students per classroom.

“You can say well one, but then one becomes two, two becomes three, and then students that need help, teachers can’t spend enough individual time with them. It’s certainly not educationally sound,” said Purtill.

Teachers have said they will work to the letter of their contract if no agreement can be reached before Tuesday. If the two sides fail to resume talks, the dispute will head to arbitration next month.

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Newport teachers have yet to agree on a new contract. School starts in less than a week.
Newport teachers have yet to agree on a new contract. School starts in less than a week.