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Eliz. Forward board accepts state fact-finder's report

| Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 4:51 a.m.

Elizabeth Forward school board voted 8-0 on Wednesday to accept a state fact-finder's recommendations for a new contract with the district's approximately 180 teachers.

No one is saying anything yet about the report that Jane Minnich of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board presented to the district and Elizabeth Forward Education Association on Oct. 1.

The teachers association “overwhelmingly voted to accept the report,” Pennsylvania State Education Association UniServ representative Christine A. Cortazzo said on Oct. 3.

Cortazzo said last week she could not release the specifics of Minnich's report but said she hoped that the board will seriously consider voting to accept it.

The district's five-year agreement with teachers expired on Aug. 31, just a few days before classes began.

Superintendent Bart Rocco referred questions to Solicitor Pat McGrail, who said the district is in a 10-day period of confidentiality under state law and could not disclose contract terms.

The period could end Thursday or Friday, but McGrail indicated that terms may not be announced until a written contract is done. EFEA president Bernice Kirby watched the vote but referred questions to Cortazzo, who could not be reached after the meeting.

Board president Philip Martell gave credit to district negotiators Rocco and his staff and McGrail, and to personnel committee members Margaret Morgan, Mary Scarry and Michael O'Rourke.

“You did a great job reaching a compromise,” Martell said.

Others voting to accept the report were Directors Charles Bakewell, Scott McVicker, Robert Rhoderick and Dorothy Wycoff. Director Megan Ferraro was absent.

At the workshop that followed, director of finance and operations Richard Fantauzzi said the state's Act 1 index, within which the district can raise taxes without a referendum, will be 3 percent, an increase from this year's 2.4 percent.

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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