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Chambersburg teachers ratify contract

April 10, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISE

Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg Area School District teachers ratified a new four-year contract this week that gives them an 11.5 percent raise along with some cuts in health and other benefits, the president of the school board said Thursday.

The ratification by the teachers and acceptance by the board ends talks that began in January 1996 and ended last month when negotiating teams from both sides hammered out an agreement.

D. Eugene Gayman, school board president, said the board is pleased with the deal that gives the teachers their first contract since the previous agreement expired June 30. The previous contract lasted for three years.

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Gayman said the board wanted and got the teachers to agree to a four-year contract. "It's better for us," he said.

Kris Scritchfield, president of the 428-member Chambersburg Area Education Association, did not return numerous phone calls and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The teachers also agreed to an increase in their health insurance deductible costs beginning in the third year of the contract, Gayman said. It goes from $100 to $200 for individuals and from $300 to $600 for families, he said. Other setbacks accepted by the teachers include a first-time cap on the amount the board will pay for continuing education up to $200 per credit. Until now the board paid the actual cost.

"Costs are going up for the board. We have to cut somewhere," Gayman said.

Teachers will receive 1 percent the first year, 4.5 percent in the second and third years, and 1 percent the fourth year, he said.

The raise is retroactive to July 1, Gayman said.

There are 506 teachers in the system, including head teachers and department heads, officials have said.

Salaries under the old contract ranged from $28,250 for first-year teachers with a bachelor's degree to $52,885 for teachers with doctorates at the top of the pay scale. An average teacher salary in Chambersburg is about $40,000 a year.

There had been talk of a walkout by teachers during the negotiations, but it never materialized. Teachers last went on strike in Chambersburg in 1980.

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