- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Teachers and administrators in the state’s largest school district will be meeting with a mediator Wednesday, delaying the possibility of a strike as they try to reach a deal on a new contract.

However, teachers in the Burlington School District say they will strike Thursday if no agreement can be reached. They had voted last week to go on strike Wednesday if the board didn’t return to the negotiating table and reach a settlement.

The teachers agreed to the Wednesday meeting called by mediator Ira Lobel.

“We will arrive ready to negotiate a contract that at least covers this year and ensures that we can attract and retain the very best for Burlington’s children,” said Fran Brock, a Burlington High School teacher who is also the president of the city teachers’ union.

Meanwhile, the contract imposed by the school board still stands, but the board will attend the negotiations, said Erik Wells, spokesman for the Burlington School District.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has urged the two sides to try to reach an agreement.

On Sept. 1, the school board voted to impose terms and conditions on city teachers. The union rejected the imposition and set the strike date.

Both sides say they were close on salary issues but remained deadlocked on working conditions, especially at the high school. The Burlington Free Press reports the working conditions mean a change in the way teachers use their time for class preparation and student intervention.

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This story has been corrected to show that the two sides have agreed to meet with a mediator, not that they reached an agreement.

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