The Phoenix Reporter and Item (

Phoenixville School Board approves fact finder's report

By Frank Otto,

Monday, November 19, 2012

PHOENIXVILLE — A week after voting against a fact-finding report in its ongoing negotiations with the Phoenixville Area Education Association, the Phoenixville Area School Board approved the recommendations in a required second vote.
In a quick 6-3 vote with all board members present Monday night, the board accepted the recommendations provided by Diana S. Mulligan in her report.
Mulligan was appointed the fact-finder by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board and heard testimony from both the Phoenixville Area School District and the Phoenixville Area Education Association on Oct. 12.
Board members Paul Slaninka, Jan Potts, Daniel Cushing, Kevin Pattinson, Betsy Ruch and David Ziev voted to approve the recommendations, while Joshua Gould, Kenneth Butera and Irfan Kahn voted against them.
“The three votes against are important,” board President Slaninka said, referring to the dissenting votes. “They’re concerned about parts of that (report).”
Slaninka said the acceptance of the recommendation provided by the fact finding report sent a message back to the education association that the school district was ready to get things done.
“(The education association) thought it was a good basis for a contract,” Slaninka said. “So let’s do it.”
In a Nov. 5 article, the education association stated: “The (Phoenixville Area Education Association) wishes to continue to negotiate in good faith, using the fact-finding report to renew productive dialogue with the Board.”
A request for further comment and confirmation that the education association rejected the findings for a second time in a vote Saturday went unanswered as of Tuesday afternoon. The education association’s general membership rejected the fact finding a first time Nov. 1.
Both sides were required to vote a second time after rejecting the report once.
Negotiations have been ongoing between the school district and the education association for almost three years. Main sticking points that were looked at in the fact finding report included salary increases and health care coverage payment.