Deer Lakes, support staff still at impasse
By R.A. Monti
Published: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Deer Lakes School District still doesn't have a contract with its support professionals and their union.
The district and the Deer Lakes Education Support Professionals Association haven't been able to agree on terms of a new contract for more than a year and a half.
The support professionals are comprised of 47 secretaries, crossing guards, hall monitors, nurses, and classroom and one-on-one paraprofessionals.
According to Butch Santicola, spokesman for the association, the district hasn't responded to the union's latest contract proposal in more than a week.
“The majority of these employees make between $14 and $15 per hour,” Santicola said. “They are the lowest- paid employees in the district.
“Their work is a vital part of the school district,” he said. “Their work helps the school district to run efficiently, therefore impacting the offerings to the students.”
Lisa Merlo, Deer Lakes School Board president, said she wants to come to a resolution with the union, but doesn't think their wage increase demands are fair.
“The wage increases aren't in line with any wage increase that any employee, inside the district or out, is getting right now,” Merlo, said. “When we negotiate contracts the one thing we look at is where we stand financially.
“We're hurting like a lot of school districts in this state,” she said. “We're looking for a fair and reasonable solution that helps both sides, and doesn't hurt the students.”
Neither Merlo nor Santicola would divulge the amount of the raise the union is asking for.
Santicola hoped that the school district will allow a third party to enter the negotiations, and said if an agreement isn't reached soon the union will go a different route.
“This can't go on forever,” he said. “We were hoping the school board would join us and go to binding arbitration or fact-finding.
“After the new year, we will look at a different approach,” he said “We have no choice.”
Is their a possibility of a strike?
“We're saying a strike is an alternative,” he said. “We don't have plans for it right now, but it's a possibility.”
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Cross on the Hill’ a special sight for residents
- New Kensington police decline to identify stabbing victims amid investigation
- Fire destroys Frazer home; family was out at the time
- Avonmore parents enter disabled child in contest for wheelchair-accessible van