Back to business as usual for Line Mountain
MANDATA - All was quiet Tuesday at the latest meeting of the Line Mountain School Board.
One-hundred teachers massed with picket signs at a meeting one month ago. Half returned for another meeting two weeks ago, sitting silently but speaking volumes with their presence alone.
On Tuesday, there was no picket, no silent show of unity. The middle/high school library was mostly empty for the latest school board meeting.
Talk centered on fluctuating energy costs, stagnant student lunch prices and a reasonable cost to refinish the gymnasium floors. There was also discussion on students' preference of white bread over wheat bread.
There was nothing substantial discussed regarding the ongoing negotiations between the district and its teachers union, whose members have been working on an expired contract since June 2012. The union has threatened to strike.
Talk should be much more interesting when the two sides meet April 22 for formal negotiations, albeit behind closed doors and out of the purview of the public.
The session spurred the school board to bump its regularly scheduled meeting to April 29, 6:30 p.m. at the middle/high school library.
Superintendent Dave Campbell expressed optimism Tuesday about the negotiation session. Both sides have made and modified proposals, he said, and he now expects "real language" to be shared.
What he doesn't expect is resolution, saying an agreement is unlikely to come from the meeting.
"As contentious as people may view this, there is still good teaching going on in our classrooms," Campbell said, reserving any further comment because of the ongoing negotiations.
Line Mountain teachers continue "working to the rule," a position the union adopted Sept. 30, meaning they work during the contracted 7 1/2 hours and nothing more.
Teachers at Southern Columbia Area and Shamokin Area also continue to work under the terms of an expired contract.
One contract is on the verge of being settled. It was announced during the meeting that a tentative agreement has been reached with the teachers at Northumberland County Vocational Technical School, Coal Township.