Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
October 11, 2012

ADAMS TWP — The new negotiation arrangement for contract talks between the Mars School District and teachers must be working.

Tom King, negotiator for the district, said today that last night’s contract talks were “very productive.”

Talks between the district and its 200 teachers, which began in January and included the teachers rejecting a fact finder’s report in the spring, had stalled recently. At their Tuesday night meeting, the school board approved a measure that would see King take over as negotiator and the entire school board attend negotiation sessions.

Until Tuesday, only superintendent William Pettigrew and district business manager Jill Swaney negotiated for the district. The two continue to attend negotiations in the new arrangement.

King said the district gave Mars Area Education Association leaders a proposal Wednesday night, and the union gave the school board a counter-proposal. He said he could not divulge the details of either proposal according to an agreement he made with the union regarding the amount of information that would be released to the media.

“It was a matter of making sure we knew exactly what their proposal was,” King said.

King said eight of the nine school board members attended Wednesday’s bargaining session, and they actively engaged in the negotiations with the union.

He said the school board and teachers will consider the proposals presented and meet again on Monday evening.

“Both sides are very optimistic,” King said.

MAEA President Rob Case was unavailable for comment for this story.

The union voted on Sept. 26 to authorize a strike, meaning the majority of teachers voted to give their leadership the power to call a work stoppage without consulting the union membership.

The teachers have been working without a contract since June 30.