Hollidaysburg district OKs contract for AFSCME workers

The Hollidaysburg Area School District approved a contract for its American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees on Wednesday.

The employees covered under the contract include secretaries and paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers and maintenance staff.

The vote was 8-1, with Lois Kaneshiki casting the dissenting vote. She said one of her reasons for voting against the contract was that the whole board was not involved in the negotiating process; she said she did not have enough information to cast a yes vote.

In addition, although it’s not in the local board’s control but rather that of the state labor board, the AFSCME contract encompasses a variety of employee groups that she said should have separate contracts.

Also during the board meeting Wednesday, business managers Susan Baker and Rob Roberts presented cost estimates of employee benefits for the 2017-18 school year.

The district’s benefits budget is estimated to increase by less than 1 percent, she said.

Minimal change to medical insurance costs are expected, and although increases to school districts’ state-mandated contribution to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System are straining many school budgets in Pennsylvania, Hollidaysburg has a Retirement Rate Stabilization fund to offset the increase in the coming year, Baker said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.