School teachers formed an informational picket line, waving signs and handing out fliers in below-freezing temperatures in front of Wyoming Area Secondary Center before Tuesday night's school board meeting.
Wyoming Area teachers have been working for three years with an expired contract. Lisa Barrett, president of the Wyoming Area Education Association, made a brief statement to the board during its session. As the representative of the teachers union, she said, We'd like to settle a new contract with you.
A resident asked how much work had been done between the school board and the union. He asked how many times the two groups had met.
Barrett said, We've met over 50 times.
When asked how many meetings had been held in the past year, she replied, Maybe a dozen.
The union's flier stated that the board has rejected several state mediator settlement proposals.
District finance manager Tom Melone made a presentation to the board about the 2013-14 budget. Melone showed preliminary figures that included the state-allowed 2.3 percent increase in taxes. He also projected figures for a 4.42 percent rise that includes a state-allowed exception because of increased retirement costs. Even after raising taxes 4.42 percent, Melone projected that the district would have a deficit of more than a million dollars.
Board member Elizabeth Gober-Mangan asked district superintendent Ray Bernardi what the administration was doing to address the coming deficit.
The finance committee already has met and cuts will be proposed at the next meeting, Bernardi said.
In other matters:
The board approved a list of coaches and assistant coaches for the spring season.
The board approved bids for about $2 million in renovations to the Montgomery Avenue Elementary School. The bids are subject to approval by the district's solicitor.