After ten month of negotiations, it looks like Bay District Schools will be able to pursue privatizing school services without guaranteeing jobs.
For ten long months, the Bay Education Support Personnel Association (BESPA) and Bay District School officials have not left the bargaining table with a contractual agreement. The main issue, the district is seeking to privatize school services, taking out language that guarantees support employees' jobs. Secondly, the district wanted to take a percentage of support employees wages in place of furlough days originally agreed on.
"Teachers have taken furlough days, non-BESPA members the non-bargaining units have taken cuts and the BESPA employees have not taken anything," said Bay District's Deputy Superintendent, Sandra Davis.
A special magistrate judge came in, head both cases and made his ruling, released Thursday. The ruling state that the district can NOT take those wages away from employees this late in the game, but the district CAN contract out school services, without that one sentence that says jobs will be guaranteed.
BESPA President Pat Martina says it was a bittersweet moment for her when she read the ruling.
"We are happy that no employee has to take a salary decrease, but we didn't want the district to privatize either because that is hundreds of jobs in Bay County," Martina said.
"It's unfortunate that we had to wait this long in the school year to reach a decision on the contract and we still have not reached a decision," Davis added.
Both parties have ten days to respond to the special magistrate to say whether or not they agree or disagree with his ruling, then the superintendent will make his recommendation to the school board, who will act as a legislative nonpartisan body to make the final decision. Whatever the school board decides, will go back to the support employees for a vote.
"85% of district employees voted that language down, so I don't know what is going to happen I don't know," Martina said not sure if the employees will ratify the final contract.
Even if the support employees vote down the contract again, the school board's decision will stand.
Three is no timeline on when the superintendent will make his recommendation or when the board will vote.