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Pa. teachers union approves contract

October 26, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After being without a contract for almost four months, the membership of the Chambersburg Area Education Association this week voted to approve a tentative contract with the Chambersburg Area School District.

The margin in favor of approving the contract was about 3-to-1 over those who voted against it, said Doug Shatzer, president of the teachers union. The vote was Monday, he said.

The teachers have been working without a contract since the old one expired July 1, he said. The union's membership includes 534 of the approximately 575 teachers in the district, he said.

Shatzer said the teachers had worked under a contract that had been in effect for about 10 years with "early bird" extensions that allowed it to be reopened for negotiations on salary matters, but left other issues untouched.

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The school board likely will vote on whether to approve or reject the contract at its Nov. 8 meeting, Superintendent Joseph Padasak said Wednesday. The contract is a four-year package, he and Shatzer said.

There are probably enough votes to approve the contract, but Padasak said he does not think it will be unanimous.

"The board needs to review the contract and its details to see if it fits in our budget," Board President Craig Musser said.

Shatzer declined to discuss details of the tentative contract until the board has its chance to vote. The breakthrough came about 2 1/2 weeks ago during an eight-hour meeting between the two sides, he said.

"We had a good seven issues that were still unresolved at the time," Shatzer said. Both sides had to make compromises, he said.

"Health care was one. Our teachers understood we would be paying more," Shatzer said. "Salaries were a little bit of a sticking point because of health care."

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