New Ringgold contract likely
Ringgold School Board director Bill Stein believes it's not a matter of if, but when, the district and its teachers' union will hammer out a new contract.
“We're committed to each other to not discussing anything specific about the talks,” said Stein, the board's chief negotiator. “They're moving along and I hope to get this resolved some time soon.”
The most recent pact expired June 30. The two sides are expected to meet next Oct 15.
Stein said progress has been made.
“Both sides are really committed to coming up with a contract,” Stein said. “The teachers are handling themselves professional and our side is, too. And with that attitude I think we're going to work it out.”
While the school board in neighboring Elizabeth Forward will consider a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board fact-finding recommendation when it meets Wednesday, contract talks for Ringgold are being handled internally.
“We both believe we can handle this and get to where we want to be,” Stein said. “I'm hopeful that will happen sooner than later, but there is a process. At end of the day, there's going to be a contract.”
Stein said the board took into account a new teachers' contract when it approve the 2013-14 school year budget. But that formula was complicated by other factors, such as state subsidies for education, the district's obligation under the Public School Employees' Retirement System and potential health care costs for employees.
“We're evaluating what each other is willing to give and accept,” Stein said. “Sooner or later we will come up with a new contract.”
The district's finances moving forward will also be impacted by the decisions the board makes about future housing for students.
“We have to separate those issues,” Stein said. “We've budgeted to go ahead with a new building. For years, we've had 2 mills dedicated to major projects of school districts.”
One of those projects is a new middle school.
The board is proceeding with plans to construct a middle school on the Carroll Township campus where the high school is located. It would replace Ringgold Middle School — the former Finley Middle School building — which had been shifting as a result of a now-dormant pyrite below the surface of the building. Architects have told the board the building is currently safe for occupancy.
The state currently is not accepting applications under its Planning and Construction Workbook. Known as PlanCon, this state program is a set of forms and procedures used to apply for state reimbursement of costs for new building construction.
The board is waiting for state funding under PlanCon before moving ahead with plans to construct a new middle school.
“Obviously the moratorium on building projects has affected primarily the middle school,” Stein said. “We would be stupid to move ahead without knowing if we're going get state funding.”
But Stein said plans should be advanced in the coming months on a project to expand Gastonville Elementary School, building permanent classrooms to replace mobile units currently used there.
“When the district went from three elementary schools down to two, it put greater strain on Gastonville and the need to deal with those facilities in paramount,” he said. “You expect some certain life out of those modular facilities, but not 20 or 30 years.”
Those decisions should come in the new year, after the voters have their final say on seven of nine board seats on the ballot.
“Those are major decisions and should be handled by the new board,” Stein said.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
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.
- Belle Vernon man facing child sex assault charges
- Monessen man accused of hiding stash of heroin
- Van Voorhis man charged for Monessen cell incident
- Monessen mayor eyes city hall return
- Ringgold senior Umbel introduced to politics as Senate page
- New Monesen high principal optimistic about new policies
- Coyle Theater is back in the spotlight
- Belle Vernon adds 5 to football hall of fame
- Saxberg returns to Belle Vernon council
- 2 nabbed for drugs by Monessen police
- Cal U offers only undergrad degree in gerontology in Pa. system