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Chartiers Valley Rejects Fact-Finding Report

Chartiers Valley School District officials said they hope to continue bargaining with the union on a new contract to avert a strike or potential move to privatize bus and custodial services.

The unanimously rejected a contractual fact-finding report, although members said they hope to continue bargaining with the district’s union bus drivers, support staff and custodians.

Nearly 50 people attended the Monday morning special meeting and several pleaded with the board to accept the fact-finding report so the union and school district could move forward with a contract.

District Superintendent Brian White Jr. said they plan to continue negotiating with the union and thinks they’re “getting closer” despite rejecting the state mediator’s report.

The 140 workers have been without a contract since 2011 and are concerned their jobs might be outsourced to a private company. The Chartiers Valley Education Support Professionals union spokesman said on Friday that .

Theresa McGill, whose husband, Al, is the high school’s head custodian, said the employees have developed a close relationship with the students and is worried that outside workers might not know the inner-workings of “specialty jobs” in the schools.

“Right now you have a very good staff, a very dedicated group of workers,” McGill said.

She also pointed to work the custodians did two years ago to help evacuate Chartiers Valley Primary School and set up tables on the high school campus so the students could eat lunch.

“The students say, ‘That’s my janitor,’ and get a smile,” McGill said. “They feel comfortable enough to say hi to them and know them outside of the district.”

Michelle Sedlak said she thought the fact finder’s contract proposal was “an affront” to the drivers and custodians, and hoped the union would push back against the district. She said she was concerned about the “precious cargo” riding the buses and did not want a private company taking over the duties.

“They gave you almost every concession and there is nothing over the top (in the contract),” Sedlak said. “These people are what’s important.”

However, the board voted 8-0 to reject the report during the 30-minute meeting. Bridget Kelly did not attend because of a death in her family.

Michael Brungo, who is the school district’s attorney and lead negotiator, said Monday’s decision doesn’t mean the workers will lose their jobs.

“The parties will continue to negotiate and hopefully reach a contract,” Brungo said. “The district did not believe (the fact finder and union proposals) were realistic. Bottom line.”

He said there is no timeline or cutoff date for negotiations and hoped a decision could be reached “in the near future.”

School Director Bob Kearney voted against the fact finding report, but still showed support by clapping after each of the eight residents and workers who spoke during the meeting.

“It’s hard, but it’s about being fiscally responsible and being able to maintain the budget over the next few years,” Kearney said.

Butch Santicola, the spokesman for the union, said he's not sure why the board rejected the fact-finding report, but his group is willing to continue to negotiate.

"We’re not surprised what happened, but we are disappointed,” Santicola said. “We have no idea why they’re going after transportation and bus services."

He backed off previous statements that the union could strike as early as Wednesday morning, but said it still might be an option before the school year is over.

“Maybe this can still be worked out,” Santicola said. “We have no desire to have a strike. It’s an activity we have to do at this point. We may not have a choice. We’ll go back to the bargaining table and see what happens.”

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JR May 21, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Everyone needs to bargain in good faith and not have outsourcing of these jobs.
danielle mccrerey May 21, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I don't understand bisinesses today they think thaty everyone is replacable and don't take into consideration the effect this will have on these people and their families. Some of them have worked for the school district longer than most of the people making the decision to cut their jobs. Money is not always the bottom line and if they are having financial problems then they should have used the $40,000 they put into the indoor playscape to help keep the jobs of these valuable employees!!!!! PRIORITIES!!!!!
concerned person May 21, 2012 at 06:43 PM
The landscape and the sports program is more important to this district then the bus drivers and coustodians ! Maybe they should get rid of some of the personel staff and they can cut money there!! What other school has 2 Assistant Superintendent a Superintendent plus Secretary for all 3 of them?? Really what is the need for that??
another concerned citizen May 21, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Agrees with concerned person, why does the new superinendant get to add jobs in administration and now we are trying to cut the transportation and custodians? Really need to get priorities in order, these people are the backbone of this school district and should be taken care of, they know these buildings and the students and are the best qualified to do the work, give them a contract and lets get back to the students because thats the other priority here, their education and safety...
Roger May 22, 2012 at 01:18 AM
danielle, why is it the school district's task to keep these people working, regardless of how long they have been with the school district? Why is this relevant? What makes their jobs protected against cost pressures? Explain to us why their jobs are unique?
same old story May 22, 2012 at 07:56 PM
what would the cost savings be? who knows what ex convicts will be driving our kids to school.
amy haniford May 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Concerned person Roger really? Have you been watching the news. It is the private busing companies who are leaving sleeping children on buses. Dropping children off on corners where no adult is present and at shopping centers. Our bus drivers are very unique and the care they take with our children is unique! I agree with the playgroind thing. You should see it. It is a menace!
First Student Driver May 23, 2012 at 01:24 AM
First off every bus driver, working for the district or a contractor must pass the same background checks, ex cons do NOT drive school buses, I drive for a union contractor and don't recieve the benefits like a PSER'S pension but wages are above CV's wages, I also am able to collect unemployment benefits in the summer, school district drivers can not. I sure support the drivers and hope that things are worked out.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:11 PM
To Roger and b smith and all others who share their views, and oppose keeping these valuable employees: You claim you don’t see the value in these “government” employees (why you harbor such disdain for government employees is your own personal issue). Let me tell you this - there are children in this district that I love very much, and I want them to be protected. I don’t want to see them riding in the hands of potential danger, not have their buildings, grounds, and vehicles being maintained through the outsourcing of inexperienced, and potentially unqualified people. This issue isn’t about keeping “status quo” for “government” employees; this is about keeping experienced, caring, local people employed at the place some have dedicated their whole working lives to, doing jobs they love. Since you’ve asked, and can not see for yourself the importance of keeping these employees, let me clue you in... My comments are many, so I need to submit several comments as the character count for comments are limited, so stick with me here…
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Continued-page 2 The overwhelming majority of people that work for this union live in this district or the borderline districts; they are local taxpayers (unlike the district’s superintendent, director of finance, and solicitor!). Many of them grew up here, went to school here, and set roots for their own families here. These people are taking care of the buildings & grounds, maintaining the buses, and transporting their very own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and their neighbor’s children. They care about the children and the district because they live, work, and play in the communities they’re serving. Most, if not all of these employees are not working in the district so they can be “government” employees. They love the children, and love what they do. It just so happens that working in the public school system is a “government” job. From my discussions with the district’s employees, most, if not all, are unhappy with the current state of our Commonwealth’s government and the cuts the governor is making to public education, and not only because of potential pay cuts and job losses. These cuts affect every single member of the Commonwealth’s society, not just those employed in the public school system. The trickle down of these cuts is for another day and time…
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Continued-page 3 District employees are held to a higher standard than those of privately owned organizations. Yes, they have to get a CDL and go through the same basic clearances to be able to work with/around children as the private company’s employees, such as the federal & state criminal records check, fingerprinted, and child abuse history check, but they are also randomly and regularly drug & alcohol tested, must maintain good health, and all of these clearances are updated and maintained by the district regularly. The bus drivers are trained in-house by certified bus driver trainers. Every bus driver’s skills are tested and re-certified every four years by these same certified trainers.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Continued-page 4 Why should we keep long standing employees? One word sums it up – EXPERIENCE. The maintenance and custodial departments are highly experienced, and on call or on grounds at all times for all the regular maintenance & upkeep and any emergencies. They know the inner workings of all the buildings and mechanical equipment. They are ready, willing, and able to do anything required to keep things running smoothly and with minimal interruption. They have handled emergencies and evacuations with skill and grace. They are in house to assist in all of the events and anything that may come up during the course of these events, including black-outs. The bus mechanics know the little nuances of all the buses and are themselves licensed school bus drivers so they can assist in emergencies. The bus drivers know the entire district inside-out, and should there be any road closures or emergencies, they know the best way to get the children home safe & sound. They also know all the routes, and are there to assist any new drivers who may be unfamiliar with all the side streets within the district. These employees have a long history with the students, parents, faculty, and administration. These are valuable intangibles that can’t be replaced by outsourcing. These departments all work together for the good of the entire district.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Continued-page 5 Privately owned custodial and transportation companies have an extremely high turn over. So when you talk about bus drivers being strangers at the beginning of the year, you may be correct, but the majority of these drivers have had the same route for years on end, not to mention stay on the route for the entire school year. With privately owned companies with high turn over, you never know when you’ll get another person taking over the route, let alone someone familiar with the streets in the district to know where all the children are.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Continued-page 6 There are incidences with privately owned school bus drivers every time you turn around. All you have to do is check this link to KDKA to see some of the more recent ones: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/tag/school-bus-accident/. You may wonder how drivers are able to still operate school buses without the proper clearances, driver license endorsements, and DUI charges - well, it’s up to the individual owner of the transit company to make sure the drivers are clean and have all the necessary checks. Unfortunately, not all owners/managers of these transit companies do just that. In fact, they make absurd excuses for their driver’s conduct behind the wheel. Visit this link and watch the recent video from KDKA where a parent followed a privately owned transportation company’s school bus driver while he violated several moving vehicle laws: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/04/28/local-father-records-school-bus-on-the-road/. Pay attention to the owner of the bus company’s comments and judge for yourself. Note - each and every one of these stories is about bus drivers from outsourced companies.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Continued-page 7 If those aren’t enough to convince you that there are more incidences with privately owned transportation companies, allow me share with you what happened just this school year where a local district had to outsource two bus drivers to fill voids left by employees out on medical leave. Here are some scary facts about these two drivers: *Driver #1 showed several district drivers a stack of moving violation tickets he’d been issued and joked (boastfully) about them. This same driver regularly had his daughter (*not* a student of the district he was transporting) and other adults on the bus with him while he transported district students. This driver may (or may not) have had all the necessary security clearances, but did the people he had riding along with him? Do *you* think they were all criminally and child abuse checked, fingerprinted, etc.? *Driver #2 was pulled over by local police for running a red light (with a full bus-load of students on board) and could not produce any credentials to the officer. This driver also did not have any insurance on the bus, and was under the assumption that the district’s insurance would cover him (which the district does not do).
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Continued-page 8 Now let me ask you this…if a district allows this to happen (and they *did* know about all of this!), and continues to keep these bus drivers for months afterwards, with just two fill-in drivers, what precautions do you think will be taken for the children when outsourcing the entire department? I was told that the driver’s union tried to force the district to terminate these drivers based on these issues, but was unable to take issue with the district, because the district is permitted to bring in outsiders when they can’t otherwise provide the appropriate staff. Another fact about most private school bus companies you may not know: the drivers are paid by the route, not by the hour. This makes a big difference in making sure they transport the students safely, drive carefully, and not quickly as to finish their day faster for the same amount of money.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Conclusion-page 9 If anyone would like to read the report from the fact-finder, all you have to do is Google “Chartiers Valley Fact Finder’s Report”; you’ll find it on the state’s portal. It is a very fair offering from a neutral third party. Please keep all this in mind when voting for your school board, and standing up for what’s best for the children and the community, because that’s really what this is all about. Letting go of these employees can’t hardly be good for either cause.
DJ May 29, 2012 at 09:07 PM
AMEN!!!! Wonderfully said: Supports CV employees!! Thank you !

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