Bethel Park board rejects fact-finding on transportation
The Bethel Park School Board on Wednesday night rejected a state-appointed fact-finder's report on the district's negotiations with its bus drivers, mechanics and aides, leaving open the possibility that the district could privatize transportation services.
The fact-finder reviewed proposals from the district and representatives from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 84 and recommended that the district's 79 bus drivers, mechanics and bus aides accept a two-year pay freeze; weigh consolidating vacation, sick time and personal days into a single category of “paid time off”; and contribute up to 2.45 percent of their salary toward health insurance benefits.
The district proposed harsher terms, including an across-the-board pay cut, limits on work hours that could prevent any driver from working full-time for the district and the ability to subcontract work to an outside company if employees worked more than 29 hours or quit their jobs.
The union accepted the fact-finder's report last month, but the district took no action until Wednesday's meeting, when board members unanimously rejected the report.
Many bus drivers and union members attended the meeting. Union vice president Marian Cowan said she just wants a contract.
“Kids are starting to ask me if I'm going to be their bus driver next year. I would like to say yes, but I don't have a clue,” Cowan said.
According to the fact-finder's report, issued to the union and district April 29 and made public last week, the district sought bids from private contractors to run the school buses. Cincinnati-based First Student Inc. submitted a bid, though district officials declined to give details.
The district's transportation budget for this school year is $4.2 million, with employees working under the terms of the contract that expired in 2011.
Federation District Council 84 Director Richard Caponi said the district's deal with First Student would involve selling its buses to the company and leasing it the district's bus garage on Industrial Boulevard.
Rejecting the fact-finder's report means both sides will return to negotiations, though the district may still pursue privatizing its transportation.
The board requested that the union respond to a proposal it made about the report by Tuesday, before the next school board meeting. Board President Donna Cook said the district's first priority is to work on negotiations before considering privatization.
“We need to move forward and close this issue,” board member Ronald Sustich said.
Christina Gallagher and Matthew Santoni are staff writers 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.
- Fans flock to what they hope will continue ‘magical season’
- PennDOT to install art murals along Route 28
- First overnight closure of the Parkway West begins Thursday
- Ross planners find housing plans incomplete
- Advocacy groups call for closer scrutiny of charter schools
- Point State Park honored as top-notch public space
- Spokesman for India’s PM tells Pitt audience of pro-business agenda
- Controller recommends hiring to reduce 911 center overtime
- $5M Penn Avenue reconstruction project is ‘killing everything’
- Man in critical condition after jumping from train to platform
- Families of Flight 427 victims to gather in Moon for last memorial service