BP fact-finder report to be released Oct. 2
A fact-finder’s report and recommendations on the contract negotiations between the Bethel Park School District and its teachers union is expected to be released to both parties Oct. 2.
At a school board meeting earlier this week, president Donna Cook said the two sides had met twice with the fact-finder from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. Both sides were expected to present their proposals to the fact-finder Sept. 25.
After the fact-finder’s report is given to the district and the union, the two sides will have 10 days to accept or reject the report. If one or both reject the report, it will then be posted on the PLRB website. Again, the two sides will have 10 days to reconsider their decision to accept or reject.
However, if both sides accept the report, “then we have a contract,” Cook said.
On Aug. 21, the district filed a request for appointment of fact-finding with the PLRB to assist with contract negotiations with the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers. Teachers and other members of the union have been working under the terms of the previous contract that expired June 30, 2010.
Fact-finding is non-binding and the two sides are continuing to meet and negotiate during the process.
State law mandates that teachers remain on the job during the fact-finding process.
In 2010, the union staged a strike that lasted from Oct. 25 until Dec. 5, 2010, when members of the union, including teachers, psychologists, guidance counselors and nurses, returned before state Act 88 kicked in.
After the work stoppage, the district and the union participated in non-binding arbitration with both sides eventually rejecting the arbitration panel’s decision in July of 2011.
In March 2012, the union filed for fact-finding. Both the union and the district rejected the report and recommendations from that round of fact-finding.
Both sides have said that the main issues dividing them continue to be salaries and benefits.
In other matters, the board took several actions to facilitate the institution of Common Core and other state mandates.
Board members approved a stipend of $500 each to Janet O’Rourke, director of secondary education, and Dorothy Stark, director of elementary education, for their preparation and implementation of new state mandates for the teacher evaluation system, Common Core, the teacher information management system, the pupil information management system and the district’s comprehensive plan.
In addition, the board approved an expenditure of $4,300 for O’Rourke to participate in the Common Core Black Belt Leader II Performance and Assessment Training for a year.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a U.S. education proposal that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform.