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South Butler Board and teachers to meet tonight

May 21, 2018 News Extra

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South Butler School District teachers picket during the third day of the teachers strike around the Knoch High School on Monday March 19, 2018.

The South Butler School Board and its teachers union will once again try to agree to a new contract — this time through nonbinding arbitration scheduled for this evening.

The negotiator representing the South Butler School District teachers said the session went well and left her hopeful that the three-person panel can hammer out a deal.

District solicitor Tom Breth said the panel will be made up of attorney Tom King representing the school board, UniServ representative Pat Andrekovich for the teachers and Pittsburgh attorney David Breen, who is a state-certified arbitrator.

"The teachers sure would like for it to be done," said Brooke Witt, the Uniserv negotiator who presented the teachers' case Monday night.

The panel's combined experience and knowledge of the local educational market, Witt said, bodes well for a result both sides can live with.

The panel will hear each side's case and consider their final, best offers or the two previous fact-finding reports to make a decision on a fair contract for both sides that is based on the top issues causing the stalemate, Breth said.

At least two of the three arbitrators on the panel must agree on a decision within 20 days, and the school board and teachers have 10 days to vote on the decision, Breth said.

Given the time frame involved in arbitration, Witt expects the teachers to vote on the panel's report during the last week of school, which ends on June 15.

Breth expects the school board to vote on the panel's findings at its June 13 meeting.

If both sides accept the decision, a new contract will be formed and signed. If either the teachers or school board reject the arbitration decision, the two sides will return to negotiations.

A full story will appear in the Butler Eagle.

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.