ANCHORAGE - After just one day of talks, a federal mediator Saturday called off the latest attempt to reach a contract settlement between Anchorage School District and teachers union representatives. The sides are just too far apart on money, spokesmen for each side said.
The mediator, Rick Oglesby of the federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Seattle, originally planned to hold talks through the weekend and possibly today. Oglesby called off those talks late Saturday afternoon after neither side budged, said Rich Kronberg, president of the Anchorage Education Association.
Before the weekend session started, both sides agreed to a cooling-off period if mediation failed. Beginning in mid-February, both sides will present their arguments to an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator's decision is expected by early April and is not binding.
The contract for 3,200 teachers, school psychologists, librarians, nurses and other employees expires June 30. The bargaining unit serves about 49,000 students.