Phoenixville School Board Rejects Fact-Finders' CBA Recommendation

By a 6-2 vote, the board passed on the advice of the independent mediator it requested.

It’s back to the drawing board for the Phoenixville Area School District and its teachers after the school board, by a 6-2 vote, rejected the recommendations of an independent mediator that was assigned to help end the ongoing CBA dispute.

“The Board is not comfortable accepting the report and recommendations at this time,” board president Paul Slaninka said after the October 26 vote, according to a press release from the district.

The board will now, in accordance with Pennsylvania law, hold a second vote on the recommendation sometime between November 6 and November 11. The public vote has not yet been scheduled.

Frustrated by the pace of its negotiations with the Phoenixville Area Education Association—the union and the school board have been attempting to come to terms on a new CBA for over 30 months—the school board made a request in August to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) to appoint an independent fact finder to the case.

The mediator would conduct a hearing, interrogate both parties, and make a non-binding recommendation on the terms of a new contract within 40 days of her appointment. For the recommendation to take effect, both the school board and the union would have to accept it in its entirety within ten days.

On September 18, the PLRB appointed Diana S. Mulligan to the case. Mulligan conducted a hearing on October 12 and issued a report to the school board and the union on October 22.

It’s unclear what the school board found objectionable about the recommendation, as its contents will be confidential until they’re released by the PLRB.

The Phoenixville Area Education Association, according to union spokesman Ruthann Waldie, will be voting on the recommendation the evening of November 1.

Jeremy Dalton November 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Sounds like a lot of Clowning...When I read articles like this, alls I can hear in my head is the circus music playing...the board needs to PTST.....
Jaxxon November 01, 2012 at 06:54 PM
So, the Board requests a mediator, because it is not getting what it wants in negotiations with the union, then it does not get what it wants from the mediator /it/ requested, and so it is going somewhere else to try to get the resolution it wants. That's good faith bargaining? I hope the union also rejected this recommendation, otherwise I have lost quote a bit of respect for this Board. Although I am not Pollyanna about teacher unions, we have to admit that they continue to exist, in part, because we do not pay or respect teachers enough in this country, and that is a national shame.
FEDERAL November 01, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Ike November 01, 2012 at 07:08 PM
No unions,, thats why nobody make a decent wage anymore.
Ike November 01, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Yes there are some jobs ,, what $9.00 hr wow,, no wonder DICK STAYS ON WELFARE
Zorben Nimwat November 01, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Just passing by, but seriously wondering what a "CBA" might be. Spell it out first please, then use the initialism. JT
JK November 01, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Did anyone notice that this independent mediator was selected by the Labor Relations Board? Do you really think they would support the school board? Of course not. Perhaps the School Board rejected the mediator's answer so the details can be made public and the community can finally see what it going on. I give the School Board credit for sticking this out. We can all decide who is right when we get the facts.
JK November 01, 2012 at 08:05 PM
It would be helpful to know how each board member voted.
SS November 01, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Collective Bargaining Agreement
. November 01, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). For the record, while I think the teacher's unions have over reached at times in the past, the school board agreeing to independent mediation but then throwing out the findings when it doesn't give them what they want is a slime ball move. They are basically slapping the teachers in the face and giving them no choice but to strike. I normally blame the teachers and their union for most strikes but if it happens this time, the blame will fall squarely on the School Board.
Gilligan November 01, 2012 at 10:52 PM
JK. You seem to be the only one that gets it on here. Rumor is the union has been demanding more and more. Educamated guess is Kevin Pattinson, being a teacher, voted no. Ken Butera is very liberal as noted by his facebook support of Obama, teachers, many liberal issues and candidates and I'm guessing he voted no also. I love our teachers and it will be a shame to see them strike.
Erin Marie November 02, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Thank you -- I had no idea what the CBA was either.
Bill N. November 02, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Once the contents of that report are released to the public, the PASD board will be crucified and they know it. We need to replace each and every member!
Gilligan November 02, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Bill N. Big talker. Do you really think the board has been unreasonable versus a union that is always asking for more? Will you actually get off your couch and vote next year? You should know only 4 seats are up for re-election so you can't just replace the entire board. Why would you replace the 2 members who voted in favor of what the teacher's union wants?
JK November 02, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Bill - how about seeing the report before you pass judgement on the school board?
DJ2 November 02, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Based on your comments, you clearly have not passed judgement on any party, either.
Kevin P. November 03, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Gilligan, Yes, I did vote no and I did so simply because I found the fact finders recommendations to be fair. Keep in mind it was the district that requested fact finding and now the district has said no to the recommendations. If you want to know more come to the meetings and ask board members why they are making the decisions they are making. As for me being a teacher, when I am attending board meetings and representing the district I am a board member doing what is in the best interest of the district, I am not a teacher advocating for teachers unions. As a teacher I can bring an inside look at how the educational process works. As of today you can see for yourself what both sides asked for and what the fact finder recommends. Finally, if you feel that dissatisfied with the board you can always throw your hat in the ring.
Gilligan November 04, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Kevin P. Where can we see the results from the factfinders that you reference?
K November 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
PASD website has all the information.


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