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Bethel Park teachers OK recommendations on contract

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 1:24 p.m.
 

The Bethel Park Federation of Teachers has accepted a state-appointed fact-finder's recommendations, which could become the basis for a long-awaited new contract.

District spokeswoman Vicki Flotta said school board members plan to meet on Wednesday to determine whether to accept or reject the recommendations in the report, which was compiled at the district's request.

If the district accepts it, recommendations on issues such as salaries, benefits and the length and number of workdays would become the basis for a new contract that would take effect retroactive to June 2010, when the last contract expired. It would run until June 2016. If it is rejected, the state will release the report's recommendations and both sides will return to the bargaining table.

The board's action must be ratified with a second, formal vote at an upcoming board meeting.

“An agreement allows the district and the union to put this protracted negotiation behind us and refocus our attention on providing Bethel Park students with the best education possible,” union President Diann Smith said in a prepared statement.

No details of the report were released Tuesday, but Smith hinted that the union accepted some terms it didn't like.

“We were disappointed with the negative impact that some of the fact-finder's recommendations will have on the students in Bethel Park,” she said.

The Bethel Park School District and the union have been negotiating since 2010. A six-week strike in 2010, nonbinding arbitration in 2011 and another fact-finder's report at the union's request in 2012 failed to bridge the two sides' offers.

In fact-finding, a state-appointed official hears each side's best offer and makes a recommendation about what should be in the contract, though the recommendations can include compromise positions.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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