Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

April 19, 2013

Alba school faces cash quandary

TRAVERSE CITY — A labor dispute could have a major financial impact on Antrim County’s cash-strapped Alba Public School.

The single-school, 180-student district has an overall budget of about $1.6 million, but Superintendent Rich Satterlee said the district’s fund balance is nearly gone after years of using cash reserves to cover expenses.

School officials hoped to end the current fiscal year with a $75,000 fund balance, but that could be in jeopardy, pending the Michigan Employment Relations Commission’s decision on an unfair labor practice charge filed against the district’s board by employee union representatives. MERC is a three-member commission that administers Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act.

“If the decision goes against us, we will have very little (in the fund balance),” Satterlee said.

Collective bargaining between the district and its employees started in July.

The Alba Public School Board of Education in December declared the two sides reached an impasse and without union approval OK’d cuts to employee compensation, including a five percent salary reduction and a 13 percent reduction to the cap on board-paid insurance premiums.

The Public Employment Relations Act allows public employers to unilaterally approve contract changes when a bargaining impasse occurs.

But the Northern Michigan Education Association denied the two parties were at an impasse. Union representatives in December also filed a petition for fact-finding, a process by which a MERC mediator makes public facts like the district’s available money supply and the price of other contracts in an effort to assist negotiations.

State law prevents public employers from implementing changes to bargaining topics after the initiation of fact-finding. The NMEA filed its unfair labor practice charge in January as a result, and filed a complaint in circuit court seeking an injunction against the Alba School Board.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" Trailer is Here! Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years