Mars superintendent: contract dispute could be solved Wednesday
October 9, 2012

ADAMS TWP — The Mars School District superintendent has high hopes for coming to an agreement with teachers at a negotiating session tonight.

Superintendent William Pettigrew, in his first public comment on the stalled contract talks since negotiations began in January, said while bargaining sessions were tough early on, he feels the district and union are close to a contract.

“I think if we stay late enough, we could settle tomorrow,” Pettigrew said at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Mark Lewandowski, a teacher and negotiator for the Mars Area Education Association, told the 80 teachers and community members who attended Tuesday night’s school board meeting that he hoped tonight’s session would be fruitful and provide some relief in the community.

While only Pettigrew and district business manager Jill Swaney have served as the negotiation team for the district in past talks, district solicitor Tom King will now serve as negotiator and the entire school board will attend the session tonight.

“It’s important to get to the point where the (teachers’) negotiation team and the board sit face-to-face and carry on a discussion,” Pettigrew said.

He said he hopes the concerns of both the union and the school district can be dealt with tonight and an agreement can be reached that suits both sides.

“I’m very anxious for (the meeting),” Pettigrew said.

Lewandowski said he appreciated the show of camaraderie.

“I’m very encouraged,” he said.

Teachers in the district have been working without a contract since June 30.

Tonight’s meeting is not open to the public.