Upper St. Clair approves agreement with bus drivers, attendants

Published Apr 9, 2013 at 8:33 am (Updated Apr 9, 2013 at 8:33 am)

Upper St. Clair School District School Board approved an agreement with its bus drivers and attendants on April 8 that includes salary freezes in two of the four years of the bargain. The board also learned that district administrators are scrutinizing library, music and art positions for potential cuts for the 2013-14 budget.

The board voted unanimously to accept a wage agreement with the USC Education Support Professionals that would give them a two percent wage increase in the first year and third years of the agreement, and a wage freeze in the second and fourth years.

Superintendent Patrick O’Toole said the pair of wage freezes will save the district a total of $17,000.

He said the bargaining unit represents about 43 district employees, and their membership agreed to the memorandum of understanding on April 3. Those employees accepted a wage freeze last year as well, so this will be three wages freezes in six years for the bargaining unit.

O’Toole also discussed with the school board the fact that administrators are considering whether they can effectively cut positions in school libraries, music or art due to some of the 15 retirements that were previously announced.

“Not that they are not important areas,” he said. “The other areas, it’s very difficult for us to recommend any cuts in.”

O’Toole recognized though that, “the performing arts are valued here.”

Board member Harry Kunselman said, “The arts are maybe sometimes a convenient place to cut in hard times,” but he said they should not sacrifice there.

Kunselman also asked how the librarian position would be covered.

O’Toole said they’d have to realign the staff, and they would not have a dedicated librarian for a full day in each building.

Assistant Superintendent Sharon Suritsky said the district actually has two librarian openings right now – one middle school and one elementary school.

Frosina Cordisco, director of business and finance, told the board that every teacher retirement that is not replaced would save the district about $72,583.

The district is planning for the school board to approve a proposed final budget for 2013-14 at its April 22 meeting, and a final budget at the May 28 meeting.

In other business, it was announced that a bond refinancing deal that will close on May 15 will save the district $1,328,074.02.

Cordisco said the district will receive $982,183.94 in cash at the closing, and it will realize the remaining $345,183.94 in savings on debt service over the 30 year life of the bonds.

The nearly $1 million the district will get in May must be used on capital projects over the next few years.

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