The one hurdle standing in the way of Bay District Schools privatizing school services is cleared Thursday. The school board, which acted as a non-partisan legislative body, approved contract language regarding privatizing school services with the Bay Education Support Personnel Union (BESPA).
Thursday's special meeting was held as school board members acted as a non-biased body to hear both arguments presented by the district and BESPA representatives. The two parties have been in negotiations since last August over contract language that stated the district can privatize school services if they guarantee jobs. BESPA wanted to keep that job guarantee in the contract, the district wanted to take it out.
So after more than an hour of discussion Thursday afternoon, the school board sided with the ruling of an independent special magistrate judge and a federally appointed independent mediator, approving language that says the district can contract school services with the stipulation that current employees get an interview and have preferential consideration in the hiring process with the private company.
The motion to go with that language was made by School Board Member Steve Moss, seconded by School Board Member Jo Wayne Walker, and unanimously approved by the rest of the board.
"It's a good compromise," Moss said. "I think it's a good meeting in the middle between both parties again that is what is was all about both folks probably not leaving with what exactly what they want but at the end finding some common ground."
"I'm pleased that they didn't choose the harsher choice, that they had in front of them and they went back to the special magistrate's suggestions," said BESPA spokesman Rik McNeill.
Now that the board has approved the language, support employees will vote on it. However earlier in the year 85% of support employees voted this exact language down. The new vote will take place next week, but the school board's decision will stand no matter what.