PERKIOMEN — The Perkiomen Valley School Board voted late at its Monday night school board meeting to accept a state mediator’s proposal for a new contract for the district’s teachers.
A public comment period ran more than two hours in protest of proposed cuts to the 2014-15 budget, pushing back the board’s unanimous approval of the confidential recommendations.
“These recommendations are confidential and are not to be made available to the public unless and until (they are) approved and ratified in accordance with each party’s approval and ratification,” said Board President Ann Mantey.
The proposal from the state mediator came in May 10, according to the school district.
Perkiomen Valley’s teachers have been working under the former contract since last August when it expired. As such, their pay has been frozen in place.
An email looking for comment sent to the teachers’ union, the Perkiomen Valley Education Association, was not returned as of press time.
“The Association will have until the end of the month to go through its ratification procedures and review the report and have the membership vote to either accept or reject the proposal in its entirety,” said a statement release from the school district. “If both parties accept the report, the recommendations will be incorporated into a new collective bargaining agreement. If either party rejects the report, the district is obligated to continue the negotiation process, which may include fact-finding if requested and recommended by the (state) Bureau of Mediation.”
Phoenixville Area School District’s teachers were without a contract for more than two years when the school board decided to bring in a state fact finder in 2012. It took almost another year after that for the sides to come to an agreement and ratify it last summer.
MANTEY’S STATEMENT ON MONDAY MEETING
Hundreds turned out Monday night for the first school board meeting since high school students walked out of class to demonstrate support for three of their teachers slated to have their positions cut in the 2014-15 budget.
A public comment section featured dozens of speakers not only defending the teachers’ positions but several other issues which may be cut in the 2014-15 budget, such as third grade strings and the academic track in school.
No adjustment was made to the budget but Mantey said there will be a finance committee meeting May 22 in which the board will look into the budget.
“We appreciate that our community took the time to come to the board meeting and respectfully express their concerns,” Mantey said told 21st Century Media Tuesday. “We value their input and will take their concerns into consideration when making the difficult budget decisions.”
The budget may also be working on in the June 2 board workshop and at the board meeting June 9.