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Ohio School District Trying to Get Back PLAs It Voted Away

Lorain HS

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Now, these are our kind of flip-flops.

The ongoing saga surrounding the use of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for construction in the Lorain School District of Northeast Ohio has taken a turn for the worker-friendly with the school district asking to go back to the original plan of using PLAs. This, in response to a lawsuit brought forth by the North Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council (NCOBCTC) of Sandusky.  

In July, the school district had planned to use PLAs to govern their bevy of new construction projects.  However, after the Ohio School Facilities Commission and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission interjected with language that made it nearly impossible to use labor agreements on the project, the council reneged on the PLAs by an 8-2 tally.  That decision led to the NCOBCTC lawsuit.

Now, the school district is between a rock and a hard place. Using PLAs would ensure construction is completed on time but could result in the loss of $70 million in state funding.  A separate lawsuit, filed by the Lorain School District, attempts to enforce the original PLA while requiring the state to come through with funding:

The Lorain school board has filed its legal response to the lawsuit and is asking for a court order requiring everyone involved to comply with the terms of the PLA, according to records from Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

The school district also is asking for a court order requiring the state “to fulfill the obligations to pay for its share of construction costs as required by the agreements between the LCSD and the OSFC.”

The abbreviations refer to the Lorain City School District and Ohio School Facilities Commission. The OSFC oversaw previous school construction projects around Ohio and in September 2012 it was merged with the Ohio Office of the State Architect to form the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.

Lorain schools entered into the PLA in good faith and with the approval of the school facilities commission, said the legal answer filed by attorney Anthony Giardini of Lorain.

Two schools have already been successfully built under the original PLA.  The projects at Southview Middle School and Admiral King Elementary were both built on time and under budget.  

The next step in the lawsuit will come when a Judge presides over a case management conference on September 24th.


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