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Moon Teachers, School District to Resume Negotiations

Moon Area Education Association and Moon Area School Board confirm a bargaining session is planned for today.

Representatives from the Moon Area School District and its teachers union will meet for contract negotiations this afternoon, marking the first time the parties have come together since the board  an arbitrator's proposed contract in January. 

Union spokesman Butch Santicola said negotiations will resume today at the Moon Area School District, but said he was unable to comment further.

Board President Mark Scappe also confirmed that the district and union will meet today.

Teachers and the district have been involved in a contract dispute that has spanned more than a year and resulted in a 13-day teacher strike in November. In December, the two parties agreed to take part in non-binding arbitration. Last month, teachers approved a contract proposed as a result of that arbitration, but the board rejected it, citing rising health care and pension costs.

Nearly 300 teachers, counselors and school nurses in the district have been working under terms of an expired contract since June.

Other items from last night's board workshop meeting: 

  • The board voted to approve a 2011-2012 preliminary district budget of $60 million. The budget includes no raises in property taxes. 
  • The board formally welcomed new assistant superintendent Zurchin, who was appointed by the board in an executive session last month, has been working in the district for the last two weeks. 
  • The board approved the district's summer hours. Administrators and staff will work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The school year concludes on June 10.
  • The board approved $46,757 in change orders to the newly completed high school facility. Representatives from Eckles Architecture were on hand to answer the board's questions regarding those orders. 
  • Scappe said despite change orders made to the new $76 million facility, the project remains under budget. "The money was already allocated for this project," Scappe said. "It's already been established and allocated. There is no bond issue needed to finish this project. The money is in the bank."
  • Alan Bennett, district director of fiscal and school services, reported that property tax delinquencies in the district are down 21 percent from last year. 
  • The board rejected a 4.4 percent budget increase from the Parkway West Area Vocational Technical School.

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