Fact-Finder Appointed to Negotiations Between School District and Teachers' Union
Wednesday marked the first day out of 40 that the State College Area School District's newly appointed fact finder will work with the Board of Directors and the Teachers' Union to negotiate a new contract.
Alex Kaschock, appointed on Tuesday, will serve as the district's fact finder, district spokeswoman Julie Miller said. The board filed a request for a fact finder on Oct. 29 with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.
The board has been in the process of negotiating a new contract with State College Area Education Association (SCAEA) for the past 22 months, but with no conclusion a fact finder was brought in to help settle the differences and explore proposals from both sides of the negotiations.
"The board remains committed to our teachers and the collective bargaining process. We sincerely appreciate our teachers' continued dedication to students as we work to achieve a fair and equitable contract," outgoing board president Ann McGlaughlin said.
According to the school district, the fact finding process will proceed as follows:
- Both sides must submit a summary of issues in dispute to the fact finder within five days.
- The fact finder will conduct a hearing no later than mid-December and will take oral and written testimony from both parties.
- During this process, if the parties so choose, negotiations may continue.
- If a new agreement is not reached in the interim, the fact finder will issue recommendations and send a written report to both parties within 40 days of the fact finder’s appointment. These recommendations are not binding.
- Each party must either accept or reject, in its entirety, the fact finder’s recommendations within 10 days of the report being issued.
- If either party rejects the recommendations, the report is made public.
- Between five and 10 days after the publication of the report, the parties shall again inform the PLRB and each other whether or not they will accept the recommendations.
- If either party rejects the recommendations, the negotiations process continues.
- If both parties accept the recommendations, this becomes the basis for the new contract.
The current contract expired on June 30, 2011. Until a new contract is agreed upon, both sides must continue to abide by the terms and conditions of the expired contract, according to the school district.
For several months, members of SCAEA have been filling the board room during meetings on Monday nights. They wear teal T-shirts that say education is "priceless."