STRATTANVILLE - Contract negotiations between Clarion-Limestone School District and its support staff appear to be stalled, according to a statement read Aug. 21 by school board president Molly Greenawalt.

Greenawalt updated the board and public in attendance regarding contract negotiations between the district and support staff, saying the statement would not be open for discussion.

"This is just a truthful report of the most recent district proposal and the highlights as they have been put forth to the union," Greenawalt said. "The proposal included insurance that follows the teachers' contract. That included increased deductibles with the same co-pays as the former contract, an average of 50 cents an hour raise for existing employees and a $4 raise for new hires. That raise went from an $8 an hour to a $12 an hour starting salary."

Greenawalt would not say what the plan is going forward regarding future negotiations.

Still, the issue said to be closed for discussion was brought up thereafter.

Custodian Robin Flack stood and questioned what support staff needed to do to garner a new contract.

"We have wondered what we need to do other than to come and work hard as a team and be proud of what we do," Flack said. "We've not had a contract for over a year.

"I know sports are important and teachers are important and so are the rest of us. All we're asking for is just to meet. To sit down, talk and try to work it out. Truly, we are doing the best we can do."

Applause from those in attendance followed Flack's comments.

Elementary school aide Jill Orcutt supported Flak, saying the support staff would be in favor of face-to-face discussions during contract negotiations.

"That respect was given to our teachers," Orcutt said. "We have not had that for months. It's been done by email and I find that belittling to say the least."

Orcutt also remarked the increase from eight to twelve dollars an hour for new hires included a caveat not mentioned during the update.

"That's wonderful, but what's going along with that is to never allow those people the rate that the rest of us achieve," Orcutt explained. "We are not being greedy with wanting more wages at this point. We are looking out for the new hires because they will never ever be able to make what we make an hour and that just doesn't seem right."

Orcutt said existing support personnel had proposed to give their offered raises to new hires to lessen the wage gap, but the suggestion was denied.

"I just think everybody needs the whole story and not just little snippets that is being released to the public so that they understand we're looking out for (new hires)," Orcutt said.

Orcutt also noted she was disappointed a letter from the district's legal counsel to support personnel's union representative mentioned the board could start seeking third-party bids for their positions.

The board did not address the comments made regarding contract negotiations.