The Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 board on March 13 voted 5 to 2 to reject an offer from the Riverside Brookfield Education Association to have talks between the full school board and the 14-person RBEA executive board.

District 208 board member Tim Walsh made a motion to accept the RBEA offer to engage in talks about the current contract with the full board of education. The offer was apparently made a couple of weeks ago and had been discussed by the school board in closed session. Only Walsh and Laura Hruska voted in favor of having the entire school board participate in talks with the RBEA. 

“I think it is important that we have these discussions,” Hruska said. “I think the board needs to be open and agreeable to different models.”

Garry Gryczan, John Keen, Dan Moon, Mike Welch and school board President Matt Sinde voted against having the full board engage in talks with the RBEA.

The motion was only briefly discussed when Keen made a motion to call the question and force a vote.

Moon said while he was in favor of keeping the lines of communication open, the RBEA’s offer to engage is talks with the full board was too vague.

“I would like to see a more definitive protocol,” said Moon, “what the objectives for the meetings are, who the people on the other side are. I have a one sentence invitation. That’s not enough.”

RBEA leaders have been meeting with two or three board members since last fall and in the last three months have been formally discussing possible changes in the current contract, which expires at the end of June 2013.

Last week Sinde and RBEA President Dave Monti issued a press release saying that those talks had ended without reaching any agreement.

“Our negotiating team has been meeting with them since August,” Sinde said. “In our press release they agreed that they wanted to break it off and not talk anymore.”

Walsh said that he made the motion because he wanted it out in the open that the idea was discussed and rejected by the majority of the school board.

“I wanted the public to know that it was discussed, and that five people voted against it,” Walsh said. “I was hoping that since people said they like transparency, that people would be willing to say why, because you could do that without talking about what the underlying issues that were discussed with the board.

“Not only didn’t people want to talk about it, they didn’t want anybody else to talk about it.”