Pubdate: Wed, 29 Jan 2014
Source: Express-Times, The (PA)
Copyright: 2014 The Express-Times
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Administrators and teachers in the Bangor Area School District are 
continuing to discuss random drug testing for teachers and other staff.

If the move is approved, officials believe Bangor would be the first 
district in Pennsylvania to conduct random drug tests on teachers.

So it's no surprise that discussions that began early last year have 
been progressing slower than initially expected.

The school approved a policy for random drug testing of all school 
employees in May, but the teachers have to sign off on it before it 
takes effect. At that time, officials predicted an agreement could be 
reached in June, but the talks continue.

Recently, officials on both sides of the discussions described random 
drug tests as a "negotiating point" for a new teachers contract, 
emphasizing, though, that talks are progressing smoothly.

Under the current discussion, teachers would not be required to 
approve random drug testing to obtain a new contract but would be 
required to bring the matter up for a vote.

Somewhere along the line, negotiators decided it was best to separate 
approval of a new contract from approval of the random drug testing policy.

"I really think both sides agreed it would be much easier," school 
director Michael Goffredo told The Express-Times. "It has allowed us 
to focus and (the drug testing policy) stands on its own."

Although the move may be well-intentioned, separating the two issues 
could be an ugly misstep. Keeping the issue part of contract 
negotiations offers opportunities for both sides to get a little of 
what they want -- and to give a little. Teachers could get modest 
raises or other concessions while the school district gets a random 
drug testing policy for teachers that helps keep children safe.

If the contract is wrapped up before the random drug testing policy 
is decided, what incentive do teachers have to approve it?

It's not too late to change course and decide these issues together.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom