A Major Decision Is Postponed

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

190 maintenance workers have been spared for now. The Rockford School Board votes unanimously to postpone making a decision about outsourcing. Custodians Tuesday night were taking the boards decision and using it to boost their moral. This vote gives their union, Rockford Building Maintenance Association or RBMA more time to continue bargaining.

The district and RBMA negotiating teams met Monday afternoon for about 2 hours to crunch numbers. At the board meeting though we learned that the district is saying the custodians offer would save the district $1.4 million. But the custodians have a different number. The RBMA negotiating team says the latest offer saves the district $2.4 million. Despite the calculations that don’t add up the decision to postpone outsourcing got a round of applause from those on the edge of their seats.

Board member Bob Evans says, “Though we are still far apart I believe we should still keep talking. As long as there has been movement and it sounds like there has been since the last meeting.”

RBMA President Jeff Phelan says, “If we both work at it we should be fine. We should be able to get through this. I mean you saw the support from the board and I think they want it to work out. I don’t think they want to privatize. They see the bad things that can happen. We’ll get there.”

Custodians will meet again this weekend to possibly make more concessions or see where the union wants to go from here. A negotiation session between the district and the union is set for next Thursday. The board will once again have the outsourcing decision before them on February 8th.


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