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Northwest eyes arbitration process

UNION TWP. -- Northwest Area School District announced Thursday that representatives from the school board and the Pennsylvania State Education Association will meet Nov. 13 with an arbitrator to attempt to reach agreement on a new teachers contract.

Walter Golgowski, the state-appointed arbitrator, will then have the option of ordering more meetings or issuing a report. If the report is accepted by the district and teachers union it will become the new contract.

District Superintendent Nancy Tkatch said she is “absolutely” hopeful a resolution will be made through the non-binding arbitration process.

Tkatch said she thinks all parties involved at this point are looking toward the process being a solution to the labor issue.

“We’re going to think positively and think the non-binding arbitration will do its job,” Tkatch said.

Charles Brace, school board president, said he had sat in on all the negotiating sessions and arbitration hearings but refused to comment on the progress or lack of progress in the process.

In additional district business, Toni Begliomini was officially hired as a secondary language arts teacher at a prorated salary of $33,426, effective today.

Ashley Bonay was hired as a long-term music substitute for the 2007-2008 school year at a prorated salary of $33,426, also effective today. Bonay was also hired as an assistant band director at a salary of $1,172, retroactive to Sept. 1.

A motion to hire a librarian for the high school was tabled and a motion to hire a Spanish teacher for the district’s elementary schools was rejected. The district has been without a Spanish teacher in the elementary school for several years.

Brace said he thought the money that would be spent to hire that teacher could be better spent by hiring a teacher to work with special needs students throughout the district.

The district also hired a new athletic director, Mark Konopke, at an annual salary of $4,899. He will start his new position today.

Tkatch also discussed a preliminary expansion plan the district is considering that would combine the elementary schools into one center. Tkatch said an economic feasibility study showed this would save the district funds and allow it to re-allocate resources as the district grows.

Currently, the district has an enrollment of about 1,200. Consolidating the elementary schools would save money in upkeep the district would not have to do on the existing schools, which are rapidly aging, according to one school board member.

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