PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” Contract negotiations between groups representing the Punxsutawney Area School District and the Punxsutawney Area Education Association (PAEA) continue, although the two committees will not meet again with a state mediator until Tuesday, Aug. 7.
Thatâ€™s simply because that date was the one that best suited representatives for both groups and the mediator, according to Gary Conrad, president of the Punxsutawney Area School Board.
â€śWeâ€™re back on track,â€ť he said after Mondayâ€™s voting meeting.
When asked if there had been a period that the board and the PAEA had not been on track, Conrad replied, â€śThere was a period when we were kind of stagnant, but weâ€™ve come up with some new ideas. Weâ€™re just trying to work through some things and get through a couple little snags.â€ť
The Punxsutawney teachersâ€™ contract expired in June 2011.
Also Monday, during the boardâ€™s meeting, board member Jack White discussed an amendment to House Bill 1363, which pertains to a district and a union experiencing yearlong impasses in progress.
The amendment â€” Section 1., Section 1131-A, reads, â€ś(A) One year after a contract impasse, the Secretary of Education may request a public hearing in the school district of impasse. The public hearing process shall follow the following requirements:
â€ś(1) The hearing shall include testimony from the school board of the district, school district administration, the employee organization and any additional party requested by the Secretary of Education.
â€ś(2) The public shall have 30 days to submit written testimony.
Testimony may be received from experts commenting on the social, emotional and educational well-being of the students in the school district.
â€ś(3) Within 90 days following the public hearing, the Secretary of Education shall issue a report on recommendations regarding the impasse.â€ť
White suggested that the Punxsy district â€śask the Secretary of Education to come here, and bring the governor with him, so we can sort this out.â€ť
Also Monday, responding to a question from board member Bob Pascuzzo, Business Manager Susan Robertson said the books on the 2011-12 school year will not close until the end of August, and thus, expenditures have exceeded revenues to the tune of about $900,000 to the districtâ€™s fund balance.
However, she anticipates some revenue of around $450,000 coming in before the district closes its books for the 2011-12 school year.