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HARVARD — The blue postcards the Harvard Teachers’ Association mailed out recently have produced a lot of mixed messages.

The cards, which included tear-off sections to mail in, asked for a yes or no response to whether the schools in Harvard are excellent and the teachers deserve a fair shake in the contract.

Contract negotiations between the teachers union and the School Committee have been ongoing since October and have stalled on a couple of issues. The stickiest of which is the health plan contribution cut, which now stands at 90/10, with the town paying the lion’s share. The offer the committee is holding onto changes the split to 70/30, the same percentages other town employees have already accepted, union and non-union alike.

Although the teachers have been increasingly vocal and proactive in their attempts to involve the community in the issue, the school board has remained mostly mum, citing the confidentiality of the negotiations.

The School Committee received 75 mail-in responses to the little blue cards, 61 of which were signed. Some also came with comments. In addition, about a dozen e-mails came in and members of the committee and the Board of Selectmen received phone calls about the matter.

Summarizing the input, committee Chairman Willie Wickman said most of those who responded said they respected the board’s decision not to go public.

“We will continue to bargain in good faith to reach a fair contract settlement,” she said.

Resident Maria Steele suggested solving the dilemma by offering the teachers an alternative health plan contribution, similar to one offered to employees in a corporate setting while resident Deb Thurston unequivocally supports the teachers.

Bob Thurston also supported the teachers, but said he could see the arguments on both sides.

Library trustee Roy Moffa, on the other hand, opposed the teachers’ stand. Teaching in Harvard is a privilege, in his opinion, and he urged the committee to hold firm.

The teachers’ aggressiveness on this issue must stop, he said. He called the blue cards “propaganda” and said he trusted the school board to handle the matter objectively.

Anne Bohan strongly supported the teachers and hoped “a way can be found to accommodate both positions.” She also said the issue points up a parallel.

Harvard children who play hockey in the Littleton-Bromfield athletic programs pay $875 to do so, while Littleton kids pay $200, she said. Those who play football also face higher fees.

Bohan said she considered the fees as unfair to parents as the teachers believe the upped insurance split is to them.

“I wanted to call your attention” to the situation, she said.

Cindy Buhner said she values the teachers, but none are irreplaceable. She didn’t disagree that Harvard schools are excellent, but she pointed out that parents are a crucial part of the picture, too.

She thanked the committee for its commitment to keeping school costs under control.

Joanne Williamson called for fair and equitable treatment for all town employees. The teachers, she said, should “stop feeling downtrodden” about the health care premium.

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