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In next 24 hours, Tuscarora teachers to decide whether to strike

August 29, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, PA. -- A spokeswoman for the Tuscarora School District's teachers union said Friday afternoon that the next 24 hours would be spent determining whether the faculty would strike starting the first day of the 2008-09 school year.

"We don't have an agreement," Marcia Bender said. "Neither side has been able to meet the needs of the other side."

The school board and teachers' bargaining unit have spent almost a year negotiating salary increases and contributions to medical insurance for the next four-year contract.

Tuesday marks the scheduled start of the school year.

Rebecca E. Erb, superintendent of the district, posted a letter to parents at www.tus.k12.pa.us. In it, she said that a strike would mean no academic classes for students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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Students enrolled at the Franklin County (Pa.) Career and Technology Center and Franklin Learning Center would be taken there, Erb said.

"Our kids that go to private schools will still go, and we'll provide transportation," Erb said.

Erb planned to use the SchoolReach automated telephone system to reach parents as well.

"The association is required to give me 48 hours notice of a strike," Erb said.

Under state law, teachers are restricted in the number of days they can strike in that the district must be able to provide 180 days of instruction by mid-June.

State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Waynesboro, has been a proponent of legislation known as the Strike-Free Education Pact. He has cited statistics that say 33,000 students were affected by teacher strikes in 2006-07 in Pennsylvania.

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