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Attorney says District, teacher reach tentative deal

January 12, 2006|By JENNIFER FITCH

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The two sides in teacher contract negotiations in the Tuscarora School District reached a tentative agreement over the weekend, two years after they first started negotiating, according to attorney Stephen Russell, the school board's solicitor and spokesman at the bargaining table.

"We did reach a tentative agreement on Saturday night through the use of a fact-finder. I'm not at liberty to say what we did, but we did get a tentative contract. Both sides have to ratify it now," he said.

Tuscarora School District serves students in the Borough of Mercersburg and several surrounding townships.

The teachers' last four-year contract expired in June 2004.

Between 170 and 185 teachers are represented in contract negotiations by the teachers association, according to Lee Ann Witter-Keefer, association president.

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She said that is almost the entire teaching staff.

Witter-Keefer and Russell confirmed the major sticking points in negotiations were salaries and contributions to health insurance.

The teachers' Blue Cross health insurance premiums for 2005 were about $2 million, Russell said.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board had appointed Jane Rigler, a retired professor from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., from a panel of people who serve as fact-finders. Her report was expected by the end of the month, Russell said.

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