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PROJECT LABOR PACT WILL BE DISCUSSED

The Lackawanna Board of Education will hold a special meeting Tuesday to take the first step toward a project labor agreement for construction of a $13 million elementary school on Martin Road.

The board set the meeting after hearing a presentation from the Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council during a work session Wednesday evening. The special meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of the high school at 550 Martin Road.

Daniel Boody, president of the trades council, assured board members that at least half the work force would be hired from local union halls, no matter where the contractors were from. He added that only with a PLA can that hiring guarantee be made on a public project.

A side agreement could also be signed to guarantee that at least 25 percent of the workers would be women or members of minority groups, Boody said. State law requires at that at least 7.6 percent be women and 7.2 percent minorities, he said.

Tuesday's meeting will be to vote on enabling legislation to hire a consultant and begin negotiations on a PLA in which concessions are made by both sides, and labor agrees there will be no work stoppages during the project.

If a PLA is signed, it supersedes all collective bargaining agreements between contractors and unions involved in construction of the elementary school, to be finished by fall 2002.

The board also discussed the future of the old Washington and Franklin Elementary schools with Mayor John J. Kuryak; confidential secretary Don Grosso; Nicholas W. Monafo, executive director of the Lackawanna Community Development Corp.; and William A. Danesi of the Buffalo Chapter of Service Corps of Retired Executives.

School Superintendent Monica Kole said the district is open to any uses that would benefit the public. The city and school officials agreed that the old school buildings must be converted to new uses or demolished. Monafo said that in the real estate world, 2 1/2 years is barely enough time for the board, working with the city, to plan for the two buildings' new use by fall 2002.

Kuryak said he would like to see the Franklin school become a community center but has been told that the utilities for the building cost about $180,000 year. He said the city would be willing to pay for one or two employees to run one of the buildings as a community center.

Danesi said his SCORE chapter has a committee with a vision for a community center that would open in one of the old school buildings the day after the new Martin Road elementary school opens.

Board President Kenneth Motyka said both schools are in good neighborhoods and the Franklin school has attractive green space as well.

But Monafo said Franklin school is on a flood plain and might not be suitable for new housing. He added that one of the schools might become a senior citizens center and the other an incubator for new businesses.

The officials agreed to jointly hire a grant writer to apply for funding to develop one or both school buildings.

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