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Chambersburg school board rejects teacher contract

September 09, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District
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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Chambersburg Area School Board has rejected a tentative contract agreement with the teachers' union.

The school board voted 7-1 Wednesday to reject the agreement already OK'd by the Chambersburg Area Education Association.

"The main thing we're struggling with is the current economy," said Board President Norman Blowers, who abstained from the vote because his wife is a reading teacher.

More than 500 people comprise the teachers' bargaining unit. CAEA President Dave Snyder said more than half voted in favor of the tentative, three-year agreement taken to the school board Wednesday.

Neither side would release details of what was in the agreement.

"This certainly does put a different take on the way things were going," Snyder said. "We thought it was going better than this."

"I'm sure this will make some animosity now," Blowers said when asked about the vote's aftereffects.

Blowers said the district, which is one of a handful statewide that relies more heavily on earned income tax, will continue to face diminished revenues in 2011-12. The school district in recent years implemented spending freezes and conducted layoffs to address budget shortfalls.

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"I don't think we as a district have the finances to support (this agreement). It would diminish the education of the students if we approved it," board member Stanley Helman said.

Snyder called the last round of negotiating in 2006 "contentious." He said the teachers worked without a contract for three to four months then.

Blowers said the school board representatives will return to the bargaining table. Snyder said the union hadn't discussed what would happen if the school board voted against the agreement, but they'll be required to continue working toward a contract.

"We hope we can settle it amicably," Blowers said.

How they voted



The vote: Accept a tentative agreement with the Chambersburg Area Education Association

Carl Barton -- No

Norman Blowers -- Abstain

Anne Boryan -- Yes

Stanley Helman -- No

Lori Leedy -- No

Fred Rice -- No

David Sciamanna -- No

Renee Sharpe -- No

Joe Tosten -- No

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