Last updated: March 26. 2013 11:46PM - 1699 Views

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EXETER — The pressure increased on the Wyoming Area School Board regarding the district’s lack of a teachers contract.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, union president Melissa Dolman handed school board President John Bolin a stack of petitions she said represent more than 600 people. The petitions ask for a contract for teachers who have been without one for three years.

“They’re asking you to finalize a contract,” Dolman said.

But board members also are faced with a large budget deficit and are trying to find ways to cut costs.

Board Treasurer Frank Casarella announced to the assembled audience, “We have passed the deadlines for closing a building.”

The board had looked into several options, which included closing one of the district’s elementary schools.

“There are things I think we should be tightening our belts on,” Casarella said.

Board member Estelle Campenni wanted to know if district employees were being consulted on how they thought costs could be cut. Superintendent Ray Bernardi responded, “It’s a good idea.”

Board Vice President Deanna Farrell added, “At our next scheduled budget meeting, I think as many teachers as possible should attend.”

After the meeting, Dolman said the next contract negotiating session is April 17.

Dolman said she thinks the full-day negotiating session the board has requested will have to wait until a suitable contract is presented to the union. “I think we have to find a contract that we both agree is neutral for both parties and negotiate from there,” she said.

In other business:

• The board tabled two resolutions based on requests by the West Pittston Rams to use the district’s stadium and cafeteria without paying the fee laid out by board policy. Because of several other instances of fee waivers, board member Mary Louise Degnan suggested the board review and revise its policy of charging for the use of district facilities.

• Bernardi said the district’s share of the proceeds from the privatization of the state liquor stores was projected at $327,000, if the measure is passed in the state Senate.

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