EXETER — A flyer with the number 1,168, representing the number of days the Wyoming Area teachers have been without a contract, was passed out to those attending Tuesday’s School Board meeting as contentious negotiations continued.
District Financial Manager Tom Melone presented an updated budget that was more favorable than his last projected budget. His revised budget still predicts a $333,000 shortfall if taxes are raised to the limit allowed by the state.
He said that without a tax increase, an additional $535,000 would be added to the shortfall. Board Treasurer Frank Casarella said the board still hoped to adopt a budget that does not call for a tax increase.
The budget news brought a response from teachers union President Melissa Dolman. “At what point do you plan for a teacher contract?” she asked the board.
“When are you gonna bend?” Board member Gil Dominick responded.
Dolman replied the union had proposed quite a bend at the last negotiating session.
The next negotiations between the board and the teachers union are set for May 1.
In another matter, the agenda called for accepting bids for football equipment, but Mary Louise Degnan, who serves as bid chairman for the board, didn’t ask for a motion to approve the bids. Degnan said she knew nothing about the bids and had not been involved in any step in the opening and accepting of them.
Casarella made the motion to accept the bids. The motion passed but Degnan, Carl Yorina, Elizabeth Gober-Mangan and Estelle Campenni voted against accepting the bids.
In other matters:
· Superintendent Ray Bernardi said the Secondary Center had won a silver medal in academic achievement from the U.S. News and World Report list of best high schools.
· A resident said a blog article had published leaks from board contract negotiations with Bernardi.
· The board approved head fall coach positions.