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Elizabeth Forward to consider fact-finder report

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 4:41 a.m.

Elizabeth Forward school board members and approximately 185 teachers will consider a state mediator's recommendations for resolving their contract differences.

Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board fact-finder Jane Minnich released her findings to the district and Elizabeth Forward Education Association on Monday.

“We are in a 10-day period of confidentiality,” district Solicitor Pat McGrail said Tuesday.

“The parties now have 10 days to consider the report and decided whether to accept or reject it,” state Department of Labor & Industry deputy press secretary Theresa Elliott explained. “If one or both parties reject the report, it will be published on the (PLRB) website.”

Pennsylvania State Education Association UniServ representative Christine A. Cortazzo said she reviewed the report with the EFEA negotiations team Monday afternoon.

She said that would be followed by “a meeting to present the report to the membership in accordance with the provisions under Act 195,” the Public Employe Relations Act of 1970.

Cortazzo did not say when that meeting would take place. The school board will meet as the committee of the whole on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.

The board could elect to have a special meeting that night to vote on the report. Its regular monthly meeting is Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.

Neither side has talked about points of disagreement. A five-year contract between the district and EFEA expired on Aug. 31, less than a week before fall classes began.

Other Mon-Yough area districts to submit their disputes to fact-finding in recent years included East Allegheny and Steel Valley in 2012.

In Steel Valley the fact-finder's report was the basis for a three-year contract agreement approved by the school board and Steel Valley Education Association on Sept. 6, 2012.

The East Allegheny Education Association accepted a fact-finder's report but the East Allegheny school board voted it down twice, with the second vote coming on June 11, 2012. Teachers still do not have a new contract 16 months later, but talks have continued.

Duquesne City School District does not have a teacher contract, though talks have taken place between PSEA affiliate Duquesne Education Association and district court-appointed receiver Paul B. Long.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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