Dallas School Board: School construction ahead schedule; no negotiation update

By Eileen Godin - [email protected]
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DALLAS TWP. — Construction of the new Dallas Intermediate School is ahead of schedule Thomas Duffy, Dallas School District superintendent, said at a school board meeting Monday.

The update provided by a report from Ethan Fick of D’Huy Engineering was good news for a district that is also involved in a stalled teacher contract negotiations.

“The were were no change orders, and we are slightly ahead of schedule,” Duffy read from Fick’s progress report.

On May 24, work crews broke ground in a lot next to Wycallis Elementary School on Conyngham Avenue to build a 62,000-square-foot, two-story school. The facility will house third, fourth and fifth grades. Kindergarten, first and second grades will be in Wycallis Elementary School.

The project will cost the district $16.8 million and replace the aging Dallas Elementary School building.

Dallas Elementary, a pre-fabricated building constructed to house flood victims in 1972, is riddled with structural issues such as a leaky roof and plumbing, air conditioning and heating problems.

Dallas Intermediate School is tentatively scheduled for completion for the 2019-20 school year.

Negotiations

Neither school board members nor the public addressed the ongoing teacher contract negotiations, which will enter into a court-mandated and monitored sessions starting Tuesday.

On June 21, Luzerne County Judge William H. Amesbury ordered the Dallas Education Association and the school board to meet from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. starting July 10. If an agreement is not reached by July 14, members would have to negotiate seven days a week, including from noon to 6 p.m. on weekends.

William Gross, executive director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mediation, or someone he appoints will oversee the negotiation sessions, according to Amesbury’s ruling.

A hearing will be held Aug. 9 to discuss the negotiation progress.

The teachers’ contract expired in August 2015. Teachers conducted a 22-day strike in November 2016, which resulted in the 2016-17 school year ending June 30.

In the 2017-18 school year, teachers went on strike seven days in September and one day in June. The 2017-18 school year ended on June 29.

In other news:

The board approved a lease proposal from H.P. Financial Services for 800 Google Chromebooks and carts at an annual installment of $39,468.69 for a five-year lease, starting July 9.

District Business Manager Grant Palfey said the district has about 2,100 Chromebooks. The items coming off the lease are desktops and laptops.

The five-year lease program works out well for the district by allowing older technology to be replaced with more current computers.

“We try to keep about 30 (Chromebooks) in a classroom,” he said.

The next Dallas School Board meeting is slated for 7 p.m. on Aug. 13 in the Administration Building.

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By Eileen Godin

[email protected]

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.