Teacher contract approved in Greencastle

September 21, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Greencastle-Antrim School Board approved a five-year contract Thursday with the Greencastle-Antrim Education Association, which includes a salary increase and a change in the health-care plan for the school district's teachers.

The School Board went into executive session at the beginning of Thursday's meeting to discuss the contract, at the suggestion of School Board member Arnold Jansen. Board members Dr. G. William Thorne and Ronald Troskowski voted against the session.

After the executive session, School Board members voted 6-2 to approve the contract. Board members Eric Holtzman and Jansen voted against approving the contract. Board President Daniel Fisher was not present at the meeting.

Holtzman said he voted against approving the contract because, "I personally didn't have time to review the contract," which he received Monday.


"I felt that it was not in the best interest for taxpayers," Jansen said regarding his vote. "I would have liked to see the co-pay higher and the (pay increase) lower."

Highlights of the contract include a minimum salary increase of 3.8 percent for each of the five years of the contract and a switch from the traditional health benefit package to a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan.

Switching to a PPO requires a co-pay during each doctor visit, which was not part of the previous health-care plan. Co-pay percentages will increase incrementally from 5 percent in 2007-08 to 8 percent in 2011-12.

"We have found PPOs to be more efficient, effective health care," said C. Gregory Hoover, acting superintendent.

The school district spends $3.6 million a year on health insurance out of a $31 million budget, said Richard Lipella, the district's business manager. By switching to a PPO, the school district would save about $125,000 a year, he said.

"We're pleased," said Tom Dracz, vice president of the Greencastle-Antrim Education Association. "We approved (the contract) overwhelmingly at our meeting on Monday."

Dracz said after the meeting that the starting salary for a teacher with no experience and a bachelor's degree will be $42,500 a year in the new contract.

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board and members of the Greencastle-Antrim Education Association agreed to a tentative contract two weeks ago, and on Monday the Education Association ratified the agreement that the school board approved Thursday.

Dracz said members of the Greencastle-Antrim Education Association, which includes about 180 teachers, like the contract's salary increase and that it is a five-year agreement.

Nearly every teacher in the Greencastle-Antrim School District is a member of the Education Association, which Dracz said has legal and financial benefits.

The five-year contract will run from Sept. 1, 2007 to Aug. 31, 2012.

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