Still no teacher contract at Wyoming Area


First Posted: 9/27/2013

The first negotiation session in nearly a month, aimed at ending the month-long teachers’ strike at Wyoming Area, was held on Tuesday, but did not yield a deal.

John Holland, chief negotiator for the Wyoming Area teachers’ union, met with lawyer Jack Dean, who represents the school board, at the union headquarters in Plains Township. Holland said a deal was not reached but the 2-hour session was fruitful.

“We made some progress,” Holland said. “We did not come to an agreement, but we have a run a few more things back to our respective groups.”

Dean said no offer was made, or could be made at that session.

“We had a good and frank discussion about where they can go and where we can go in negotiations,” Dean said. “We didn’t exchange official offers, nor did I have authority to do so. I’m going to brief the board on it.”

Dean said no additional talks were scheduled because he has to talk to the board first, but that both he and Holland are open to more meetings. “We’ll be getting together again I’m sure.”

The teachers’ union has been on strike since Sept. 3 and before Tuesday night the two sides haven’t sat down since talks broke down on Aug. 29. The teachers’ contract expired in August 2010 and sides haven’t been able to come to an agreement since then.

Several residents a the school board meeting expressed frustration that strike is lasting too long and urged the board and the union to come to an agreement.

Parent Ann Knoff of Harding chided the board and union for not meeting enough.

“The first day the teachers had to go on the picket lines, I want to know why there wasn’t an emergency meeting at that point in time,” she said. “I feel the school board had waited too long to meet.”

In other business, and after some debate, the school board tabled a vote to lease a snow plow through the state’s COSTAR program. The 60-month lease was $760.99 a month for 60 months.

Frank Pugliese, supervisor of buildings and grounds at Wyoming Area, urged the board to buy the truck now so it will be ready for the plowing season. Bob Trusavage of West Pittston, a taxpayer, urged the board to choose a better deal and even offered his research which says the district can get a better price.

The board also:

• Hired Janet Serino as superintendent to replace Ray Bernardi when he retires in April at a yearly salary of $113,065.

• Hired Jamie Broda as Special Education Director/PIMS Coordinator effective Sept. 16 at a yearly salary of $80,000 to be pro-rated for the current school year.

• Approved a districtwide attendance and social media policy.

• Approved a grant submission for a School Safety Mini Grant for $4,900 to the Department of Education’s Safe Schools Office to offset the cost of the resdesign of the entrance of the Secondary Center.

• Approved $30,322 in change orders for the Montgomery Avenue renovation projects. The additional costs were added because additional work on the roof was needed.

• Approved the appointment of Celestine Calpin as a driver theory instructor at a rate of $30 an hour for the 2013-2014 school year.

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