MASD, MEA reach early agreement

The Montrose Area School District and Montrose Education Association have reached an early collective bargaining agreement.

Ryan Griffiths, representing the MEA, said the teachers’ union had approved the proposed contract on Monday, prior to the board meeting.

The board also ratified the new four-year agreement, which goes into effect Sept. 1, 2020 and runs through Aug. 31, 2024.

Griffiths thanked Superintendent Chris McComb for reaching out to the MEA and dealing with the union “honestly and fairly.”

The early contract deal marks a change from the breakdown in negotiations that happened after the prior agreement lapsed in 2015 and culminated with the MEA staging a strike in spring 2016.

The board heard a report on the roof conditions of all district schools from Alan Behnke of Tremko Roofing.

Behnke reported that the high school roof was in good shape, with all but one section still covered by warranty. That section – 96,600 sq. ft. – was last completed in 2007 but the company went out of business following the project and left it without warranty, Behnke reported. As of 2016, it was dry and performing well. The district could purchase warranty coverage for that section.

Behnke said a section of the Lathrop Street Elementary, which received restoration work in 2005 with a 10-year warranty, is recommended for an upgrade of restoration work on the 23,300 sq. ft. section.

All 57,000 sq. ft. of Choconut Valley Elementary’s roof was last done in 2007, with a 10-year warranty. He also recommended the district consider a roof restoration project on the facility.

Restoration projects, according to Behnke, prolong the life of the roof and can be done repeatedly – barring any catastrophic failures of the roof – for the life of the facility.

He ranked Choconut Valley as the highest priority and estimated the cost of roof restoration work in 2020 at about $725,000. He also said many school districts break down the projects to be completed over multiple years.

McComb reported positive results in the district’s PSSA and Keystone exams, saying the elementary schools were the highest ranking in the county in both the PSSA Science and English Language Arts, and second in Math.

For the Keystone Exams, he said the district was the highest scoring county school in the Biology and Literature exams, and second in the Algebra test.

The board voted to donate $1,237 to the county library. McComb said this has been a long-standing district practice he only became aware of last year. The money donated is equal to $1 for each enrolled student.

The board also approved a transfer of $370,410 from gas lease royalties to a capital projects fund; and committed $300,060 to pay toward the district’s bond debt.

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