Delay cited in water main work at Strough; raises OK’d for district clerical staff

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Members of the Rome City School District’s Board of Education received a briefing on the district’s change of transportation providers as well as on a pair of capital projects in the district.

The board members also approved a new four-year pact for district clerical staff represented by the Civil Service Employees Association Unit 7763.

During Wednesday’s meeting, new Board members Elena Cardwell-Reddick and Anna Megerell were sworn in and the minutes from the previous regular meeting were unanimously accepted.

During his update to the board, Superintendent Peter C. Blake reported that the district’s summer programs were up and running and that First Student, the district’s first new bus service provider in generations, was “off to a good start,” in its first month of service.

First Student is the largest student transportation service provider in North America, providing more than 900 million student journeys a year to approximately 1,000 school districts. Birnie Bus Service, headquartered in Rome, had been the district’s provider of bus transportation for approximately 70 years.

Blake reported that work funded by the district’s capital project was happening throughout the district and that the Rome Free Academy project was “pumping right along,” as was work in almost all of the district buildings.

The lone exception, according to Blake, was Strough Middle School, where commencement of work on the water main replacement has been delayed due to “paperwork and timing of the board being able to approve contractors and get the paperwork certified.”

Blake shared that work on the Strough water main would likely not begin till closer to the beginning of August and may even push until after the conclusion of summer school programs based in the school building. “We do have our secondary supportive learning program happening at Strough,” said Blake, “and in order to do that work, they have to shut off all of the water to the building.”

Blake said that without access to potable water, people would not be able to utilize and that either the programs taking place in the building would either have to go remote for those days during which the water was shut off, or the programs would be temporarily relocated to a different building during that time. The other option, which remains on the table, is that commenced of that work would be delayed until the conclusion of the summer programs taking place at Strough.

CSEA Contract

Board members approved a four-year contract with CSEA Unit 7763, which represents the district’s clerical staff. The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2020 and includes the following modifications:

3.5% increase, effective July 1, 2020;

3.5% increase, effective July 1, 2021;

3.5% increase, effective July 1, 2022; and

3.5% increase, effective July 1, 2023.

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