The state has approved a third-party mediator to facilitate the final steps of contract negotiations between the Santa Maria-Bonita School District and the local educators union after discussions reached a standstill this month.

The Public Employment Relations Board granted the Santa Maria Elementary Education Association's request for declaration of impasse, filed unilaterally, on Tuesday afternoon, according to Jose Segura, association president. 

Looking ahead, a state-appointed mediator will schedule a meeting with both the district and the association to finalize a handful of still-unresolved contract articles, with a date still to be set, Segura said.

Since negotiations for the association's new contract began in late 2019, tentative agreements have been reached on all but four out of 26 articles, specifically dealing with salaries, class size, release of the association president, and the number of nurses per school site.

Three smaller articles are also up in the air depending on the outcome of the others, according to Segura. 

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