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ArlingtonSchool system to take another step on road to collective bargaining

School system to take another step on road to collective bargaining

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The push to give Arlington Public Schools’ staff collective-bargaining rights is expected to move another step forward in coming weeks.

School Board members on Sept. 30 will review a draft list of budget priorities for next year to be handed to Superintendent Francisco Durán.

Among the directives in the staff proposal: create a timeline for implementation of collective-bargaining, which until recently was banned for public-sector workers in local governments across Virginia.

The Democratic-controlled legislature approved a return of collective bargaining, but only if the governmental bodies (city councils, boards of supervisors and school boards) give their assent. Both the Arlington County Board and School Board plan to allow it.

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Strikes by local-government workers would still be illegal.

Until being banned several decades ago by the General Assembly (also then in Democratic hands), the Arlington school system had engaged in collective bargaining with the Arlington Education Association.

The draft budget-priorities package also calls for a “needs-based” budget, which might set the School Board up for a funding battle with the County Board next spring, particularly if federal COVID-relief funds begin to taper off.

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