Southern Regional Board of Education Ratifies Contract for Bus Drivers, Aides and Mechanics
After months of negotiations between the bargaining committees of the Southern Regional School District and Southern Regional Transportation Association, an agreement on terms for the latest contract affecting bus drivers, bus aides and mechanics has been reached.
During its March 8 meeting, the Southern Regional Board of Education ratified the memorandum of agreement reached, finalizing the process on delivering a contract that will be in effect from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020.
“Before we approve this, I’d like to thank Steve (Terhune) for his leadership in this negotiation, and also the union representation from the transportation association,” board member Steve Berkheiser said prior to presenting the recommendation for ratification to the board. “You both did a great job.”
The board unanimously approved the ratification, which set forth the changes to the existing agreement in place. Some of the more notable changes include: salary increases of 2.8 percent for the next two years and 2.9 percent for the third year of the contract; $700 stipends for mechanics who receive Automotive Service Excellence Certification; extra hourly pay rates of $21.50, $22.25 and $23 during the next three years, along with an extra-run increase of $29.50 per run, summer-school run rates of $31 per run and mechanics’ on-call rate to $65 per day; and mechanics may be required to fill in as drivers during shortage periods and can receive up to $400 in reimbursements per year for work boots, foul-weather gear or tools.
Business Administrator Steve Terhune said bus drivers make between $17,941 and $27,651 per year depending on their length of time in the school district.
Also during the meeting, the board approved a change to the purchase order for a contract on the replacement of the high school’s boiler, in addition to reconstructing the concrete pad underneath it. The original contract allowance was for $20,000 and was increased to $22,808.
Terhune explained the boiler that was replaced was the original equipment to the building when it was built in 1957, but it also was necessary to increase the height of the concrete pad on which the boiler sits because the basement-level room is susceptible to flooding of up to a foot at times.
The labor and materials to increase the pad depth totaled $3,728, while the pad extension for the new circulatory pump was $13,948, and the installation of a hydroid unit heater came in at $5,132. Forty percent of the entire project cost is being paid for by a grant received from the state of New Jersey, Terhune said.
— David Biggy