Support Staff, District Conduct “Business-like and Serious" Talks
Pennsbury board negotiator and PESPA representatives met to renew contract talks.
From the Pennsbury School District:
On the evening of November 28, 2012, the Chief Negotiator for the Pennsbury School Board met with representatives of the District’s support staff union, the Pennsbury Educational Support Professionals Association (PESPA). The 600+ employees in PESPA have been working under the terms of an expired contract since June, 2011. This was the first negotiation session scheduled since November, 2011.
Chief Negotiator, Jeffrey Sultanik, described the session as “business-like and serious.” During the meeting, the District presented the costing results of two separate Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for outsourcing services in Pennsbury. A proposal from the apparent low bidder for transportation services reflected an overall cost savings to the District of $3.4 million over five years. The second RFP, for outsourcing some of the District’s full-time and part-time cleaning services, yielded results that were shared with PESPA in the form of a draft comparison document showing an estimated $586,000 in savings over current costs during the first year.
“The PESPA negotiators and members in attendance clearly understood the implications of what we were discussing,” said Mr. Sultanik. “In order for the District to continue to deliver its high-quality educational program to students with minimal impact, every aspect of the organization must be scrutinized. The results of the RFPs helped to demonstrate how our costs of operation are higher due to the added burden of pension and health benefits. For the Board not to consider outsourcing, PESPA members would be faced with the admittedly tough decision of making significant concessions in order to preserve jobs.”
Later in the meeting, Mr. Sultanik informed the PESPA representatives that the Board is preparing to issue additional RFPs for the services provided by Pennsbury employees who work as paraprofessionals and aides in Pennsbury’s 15 schools, as well as IT support technicians and other support staff personnel.
Several Pennsbury administrators attended the session with Mr. Sultanik to answer questions if needed. They were Business Administrator Daniel Rodgers, Human Resources Director, Bettie Ann Rarrick, and Financial Services Director, Joanne Godzieba. Present at the meeting to represent PESPA were UNISERV representatives Greg Moll and Brad Gross, PESPA President Gary McClure, and PESPA members Marla Lipkin, Denise Hacker, and Brian Russell. State Mediator John Cairns was also in attendance.
The next negotiation session is scheduled for January 30th at 6:00 p.m., when the results of the additional RFPs should be ready for review and discussion.