Mars school board, maintenance workers at odds over grass cutting

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The union representing maintenance workers in the Mars Area School District is threatening the district with an unfair labor practice complaint over grass mowing.

The Mars Area Support Professionals Association said it will file the complaint if an outside contractor is still cutting the grass after July 31.

But the district solicitor recommended that they continue the contract with Steel City Landscaping to cut the grass. And five board members agreed Tuesday.

Superintendent William Pettigrew said outside contractors previously provided mulching, tree trimming and weeding services, but the maintenance staff cut the grass, he said. Steel City was hired to cut the grass as of July 1.

The move saves money and frees the maintenance staff to do "other projects that needed to be done," Mr. Pettigrew said.

Board members Rebecca Brown, Rita Dorsch, Jane Dunn, Christine Valenta and board President J. Dayle Ferguson voted to continue to have Steel City cut the grass. Steve Boggs opposed the move and John Kennedy, Gordon Marburger and Bonnie Weaver were absent.

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