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Tuscarora teachers to vote today

February 16, 2001

Tuscarora teachers to vote today



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Tuscarora School District's 184 teachers will vote today for the second time on whether to accept a new work contract that will give them less money, fewer benefits and a shorter contract.

The Tuscarora School Board Monday voted 6-3 to accept a fact-finder's recommendation from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board who sat in on year-long negotiations between the two parties in an attempt to break an impasse.

Each side has two chances to vote on the fact-finder's recommendation, which was issued Jan. 29.

Monday's 6-3 vote by the school board marked the second time that the board accepted the fact-finder's recommendation. The teachers turned it down once. They will vote on it again today.

If they reject it again, it will mean a return to the bargaining table for both sides, Schools Superintendent William Konzal said this week.

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"We would certainly like to see this resolved as soon as possible," Konzal said.

The teachers have been working without a contract since their four-year pact expired June 30. Negotiations between the Tuscarora Teachers Association and the school board have been under way since January 2000.

Money and benefits are the sticking points in the talks.

The board offered annual salary increases over its proposed four-year contract of 3 percent for the first two years and 3.5 percent for the next two.

The teachers are asking for 4.5 percent per year over a three-year contract.

The fact-finder is recommending a four-year contract with annual increments of 3.1 percent, 3.5 percent, 3.6 percent and 4 percent.

The expired contract paid 100 percent of the health insurance premiums for the teachers and their dependents. In their proposal, the teachers asked to raise the deductible and have the district self-insure the difference.

The board's plan would require the teachers to accept a co-pay arrangement that would cost employees $5 per doctor's office visit in the last three years of the contract.

Board members Gale Bricker, Guy Hollenshead and Larry Buchanan voted against the fact-finder's recommendation. Bricker and Hollenshead decline to say why they opposed it Thursday and Buchanan could not be reached for comment.

Lee Ann Whitter-Keefer, president of the Tuscarora Teachers Association, could not be reached for comment.

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