With the newly elected board members among those in attendance, the Ellwood City School Board conducted its regular meeting and schedule of business Thursday night.
Beyond the scheduled topics discussed, Kathy McCommons, Barb Wilson and Norm Boots all spoke briefly to the audience and board while Kathy Pansera, who did not win her seat back during Tuesday’s election, read a statement centered around the outsourcing subject.
“I ask the union to please negotiate and remember the students and the community that they serve,” Pansera said. “I hope and pray that the union will choose to negotiate in good faith and keep in mind our aging community.”
Anthony Buzzelli, the other board member who lost Tuesday, was not at the meeting.
The question of subcontracting became a central issue in the race for school board. The union said Tuesday’s election shows that the community is firmly behind keeping good jobs in Ellwood City.
The district has said it could save about $2.1 million over three years through outsourcing. Mike Neupauer, chairman of the negotiations committee said many residents are very concerned about the district saving money.
In a statement received Friday, a SEIU 32BJ representative stated the District’s plan to outsource was a bad idea from the start, and say it again today.
“Clearly, contract negotiations are not always easy. We understand budgetary restraints and the tough times facing school districts,” the statement reads. “We have met with the District six times. We presented ways for the District to save money. Since August, we’ve been trying to schedule dates for negotiations and get information we need to negotiate fairly, but the District Solicitor has ignored us.”
Last week the union filed Unfair Labor Practices with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.
LeRoy Cortez, board member who is also on the negotiations team with Neaupauer, said if the union wants to resume talks, they are ready.
“We are willing to talk,” he said. “We want to solve this at the bargaining table.”
“We are asking the Board hear us. We are asking the Board to hear this community who is against outsourcing. With the election of Kathy McCommons, Renee Pitrelli, Norm Boots and Barbara Wilson, we hope we will be able to move negotiations in the right direction to find a solution that benefits everyone because there is clearly a community mandate to save the only remaining family sustaining jobs in this area. We ask the District to come back to the negotiating table and take outsourcing off the table,” the the Ellwood City School 32BJ members statement concludes.
In addition to the outsourcing discussion, the school board hosted their monthly regular meeting and voted on and discussed the following topics:
- General fund treasurer’s report
- General fund accounts payable
- Capital reserve fund treasurer’s report
- Construction fund treasure’s report
- Homestead/Farmstead application printing service agreement
- ACA TaxTrack Software license agreement
- Winter coaches
- FMLA Leaves
- Activity Club changes
- EAEA MOU-Job posting
- Extended season pay
Athletics, Facilities and Community
- Transportation contract
- Facility requests
- Light poles
- Parent/athletic handbook
- Field trip
- Athletic fund detail expenditure report
All motions were approved.