Board, Waynesboro teachers union far apart on contract

May 21, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The Waynesboro Area School Board and the teachers' bargaining unit remain far apart on a key contract negotiation issue -- salaries.

The school board has proposed no pay increase for three years starting in 2010-11, according to a press release from the district.

The Waynesboro Area Education Association has proposed increases of 5.7 percent each year for four years, both sides confirmed.

Education Association President Jessica Bryan said the teachers treated 5.7 percent as a starting point and assumed the school board's 0 percent was its starting point, although the bargaining unit found that proposal to be insulting.

"The board believes that this measure and other non-contractual expense reductions are necessary given the district's fiscal limitations in the current economic climate. The board's proposal is also consistent with what it has required or asked every other employee in the district to do," the school board's news release stated.


The news release stated the salary and step increases would cost the district an additional $1.3 million to $1.5 million each year. It said the average teacher salary is $57,225.

The news release stated it offered a one-year extension to the current contract, with salaries frozen. That three-year contract was already extended by one year and expires June 30.

The education association rejected the new extension because it would mean negotiations would start over in January, Bryan said.

"We have all intentions of getting this settled," she said, saying the bargaining unit's 270 members don't want any more delays.

"The school board values our teachers and believes it has been more than fair when times have been better. But under current circumstances, the board believes its current salary proposal is appropriate and that the WAEA proposal does not recognize the realities of the current economic environment," the news release stated.

"When the economy was good, they were not forthcoming with raises. We had to fight tooth and nail for the little increases we got," Bryan said.

Quality teachers are being lost to neighboring Greencastle-Antrim School District, where salaries are $7,500 higher than Waynesboro's, according to Bryan.

Bryan said the school board also is trying to lengthen the school day, require monthly meetings after school and add a day to the school year. That translates into an extra 17 days more work without increased compensation, she said.

"We're trying get as much education in our children as possible, with as much time on task as possible for students," said Richard Galtman, the school board's lead negotiator.

The school board is proposing extending the teachers' work year from 189 days to 190 days and lengthening the school day to eight hours, including a 30-minute duty-free lunch for teachers, Galtman said. The proposal includes up to two monthly meetings totaling three hours or less a month, he said.

Negotiations are ongoing.

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