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Philly School District Commissions PLA Study Ahead of $150M School Construction Boom

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The Bristol Township School District in northeast Philadelphia has solicited a month-long study about the effects of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) as they enter the planning stages of a $152 million new schools and renovations project.  

The school district has hired Keystone Research Center (KRC) to conduct the study and will take their findings into consideration, but not as final word.  The decision came after a vote from the school board on last week:

An agreement between the district and Keystone Research Center was approved by Bristol Township’s school board in a 7-0 vote Monday night by board members Angela Nober, Stacy Gerlach, Katherine Bachman, Frederick Black, Earl Bruck, Patricia Koszarek and Constance Moore. Board members James Baker Jr. and Helen Cini were absent from the meeting.

Bristol Township School District is looking to keep costs low as they move forward with their massive project.  If a PLA is entered into, the school district would avoid work stoppages and mandate local and diversity hiring requirements, among other benefits.

Solicitor David Truelove said that even if the Keystone Research Center determines that a PLA is appropriate it will not necessarily move forward with one. explained KRC’s role in the project, for which they will be paid $18,000:

Keystone Research Center will deliver a feasibility analysis for the first phase of the project — a proposal to build three 1,300-student elementary schools for about $37 million apiece — next month, district officials said.

An analysis on the second phase of the project, to renovate two middle schools, would come later.

According to the contract, Keystone Research Center will research whether a project labor agreement will ensure local labor on the projects and ensure a “sufficient pool of skilled labor to complete the project in a safe, efficient and timely manner.” The consultants will also look at whether a so-called PLA will “ensure labor peace and harmony through a no-strike, no-lock out commitment by all involved personnel” and provide for economic savings “through standardization of contract terms, work rules and practices.”


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