Apparently the children filing into classrooms for the first day of school this morning aren’t the only ones in Phoenixville Area School District trying for a fresh start.
In an attempt to jostle the stalemate its been mired in with the local teachers’ union over the terms of a new CBA, the school board has moved to get an independent fact finder to review both groups’ proposals and make a recommendation, the district announced last week.
The board voted on August 24 to have the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board appoint the mediator. Within 40 days of this appointment, a recommendation will be issued.
Though the findings and the ultimate recommendation of the third party would be non-binding, according to The Mercury, the Phoenixville Area Education Association is fuming that such a move was made.
“The [Phoenixville Area Education Association] is very disappointed that the district chose this path. [The Phoenixville Area Education Association] believes that after 30 months of negotiations, we were within one bargaining session of settlement,” union spokesman Ruthann Waldie said in a release.
School board President Paul Slaninka acknowledged that discussions have been moving in the right direction, but told The Mercury that he thinks both parties would benefit from “one extra pair of eyes” on the dispute, which has been in negotiations for the last 30 months. The previous collective bargaining agreement expired in June of 2010.
“There has been movement on both sides in the last few months,” he said.