Context: After a year of negotiations the Teachers' UNION declared IMPASSE with a school district unwilling to work with and compromise with the professionals doing the daily work in the classrooms with the children of Clay County. A special magistrate was called upon to intercede and foster compromise. The superintendent of Clay County, Charles Van Zant, Jr., refused to accept the magistrate's judgement based upon the following (excerpted from his officially issued document "Employer School District Of Clay County's Objections to Special Magistrate's Recommendations):
Secondly, to ensure future recipients of the Teacher of the Year award doesn’t prove to be a liability for the political careers of the Superintendent and certain members of the board, the process for selection and determination of the recipient has recently been changed so that certain voices lack a potential platform from which to speak harsh truths most seek to avoid and ignore.
6. The impasse led to the district absorbing the magistrate’s fees for composing this report that the superintendent has rejected. The school board will likely vote to reject it. The teachers will likely refuse to ratify the school board’s rejections. That takes us back to square one, negotiating a contract for the 15-16 school year, one that is essentially already over. Hundreds, if not thousands of man-hours wasted. This translates to dollars because time equals money, right? So, essentially, this year ends with absolutely no progress between management and labor at a significant cost. Therefore, it will be the 16-17 school year before negotiations pick up steam again and at that point it will be EIGHT (8) years without any pay increase. Not a raise, just a pay increase. No cost of living, contracted step increase, nothing…nada. Just an ever increasing inflation and rising cost of health insurance…adjusted for real dollars, the people doing the work in the schools of Clay have absorbed a net loss over the past decade of work while new positions and raises have been given to those in the ivory tower. It’s unjust at best. It’s indescribably profane for sure.