MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The union representing faculty at the Vermont State College System said Monday that the administration and union have reached an impasse after five months of contract negotiations, while the administration said the two sides are close to resolving several remaining issues.

The Vermont State Colleges said the two sides plan to meet with a mediator on Aug. 31.

"We value our faculty and their central role in our education mission, and we look forward to a contract that reflects their contributions and supports a sustainable and strong public higher education system for Vermont," Chancellor Jeb Spaulding said. "I know we all hope for a timely resolution on behalf of faculty, students and the VSCS."

The VSCS is comprised of Castleton University, Community College of Vermont, Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College.

The administration proposed cuts to the existing contract, the union said. Median executive salaries have risen by nearly 9 percent at VSC over the past five years, while median faculty salaries haven't kept pace with inflation, the union said.

"We do not believe that these spending priorities are in the best interest of our students or our institutions," said Lisa Cline, president of the VSC Faculty Federation. "

The mission of the state colleges — to provide affordable, high quality public higher education — requires spending on instruction, including faculty compensation to attract and retain skilled faculty, union leaders said.