Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County President Tom Paolino said yesterday that contract talks between the union and the Board of Education may be near an end, thus averting a possible work-to-rule job action.

Under the two-year contract agreement, endorsed by TAAACleaders, the association gains 16 items it had requested before negotiations broke down and went to arbitration.

Those include maintaining a 12-month schedule for the county's guidance counselors in schools with 750 students or more. Board membershad proposed that they be reduced to 10 month employees.

TAAAC members also would be able to take a one-year leave of absence without pay, provided they have seven years of continuous service.

And teachers adopting children would be able to take up to six weeks' leave without pay.

However, like most unions in the county, TAAAC members would receive no pay raise this year.

New contract talks will begin in October for the next contract.

Items set for discussion include salaries, personal business leave, planning time and attendance at Parent-Teacher Association meetings.

The work year for department heads, media specialists and instructional team leaders also will be discussed; those employees work extra days.

The teachers' contract expired June 30 but was extended to September until association members could vote.

"I'm pleased with the additions," Paolino said.

"We got some major wins."

The agreement was reached two weeks ago, but Paolino said he delayed announcing it until union members were back to work.

"We're going to the (union) reps tonight," he said during a school board meeting yesterday. "We'll explain the packet to them, and they will take it to teachers in their buildings and meet between Thursday and Tuesday."

Union members are scheduled to vote on ratification of the contract at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Severn River Junior High.

"The agreement was the result of concentrated effort to reach a satisfactory conclusion," said Bill Scott, the schoolsystem's chief negotiator.

"No one is ever totally satisfied in negotiations. It allows the return to better working relations betweenus and the group and allows us to be about the business that we are really in -- instruction."

Scott said progress is being made with three school unions with which the board was unable to reach an agreement.

He said the board is close to a three-year agreement with the Association of Education Leaders, the union representing school principals.

If accepted, salary negotiations would reopen in October.A system for counting special education students attending regular schools will also be debated -- an important issue because principals are paid based on the number of students they supervise.

Two unions, one representing secretaries and assistants, the other bus driversand custodians, are still negotiating and have yet to set a time fortaking proposals to their memberships.

In October, the two unionswould renegotiate salaries.

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