Teachers in CASD ready to go on strike

School board to take final vote on state fact-finding report

December 18, 2010|By C.J. LOVELACE | Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Teachers in the Chambersburg Area School District are ready to go on strike, according to a district newsletter sent to all employees Friday afternoon.

The Chambersburg Area Education Association (CAEA) authorized the association leadership to go on strike if the union and the Chambersburg Area School Board do not come to a settlement on a new collective bargaining agreement this week.

After the mandatory five- to 10-day "cooling off" period, the school board elected Thursday to postpone its final vote on the state fact-finding report for its most recent proposal. A vote is expected Monday about 1 p.m., board President Norm Blowers said.

"We wanted to know what the associated cost would be if we followed the recommendation of the fact-finder," Blowers said.

The board asked Superintendent Joseph Padasak to compile a list of what cuts will need to be made if they decide to settle.

CAEA President Dave Snyder, who said the union again accepted the fact-finder's report by an "overwhelming majority," thinks this is "an obvious ploy to try to put pressure on the teachers now that they know we voted to authorize a negotiating team to strike."

"I believe the school board is trying to position themselves by putting out some kind of a list of terrible cuts that they're contemplating to make," Snyder said. "And that's, as far as I'm concerned, another bargaining move to try to shift the emphasis toward the teachers."

Blowers said they can't raise taxes enough to support the union's salary and benefit demands as part of the settlement, which would be the first for Chambersburg since 2006.

"We've been talking with them about going back to the bargaining table, but we'll just have to see what comes together," he said.

Snyder is confused as to why the district is just now asking the district for a list of necessary cuts that would need to be made to get a new deal done.

"This whole thing of putting out some kind of a list to show what's going to happen if they accept the report is ludicrous," Snyder said. "It's just a ploy for the public so the board can point the finger at us and say look what happens if we accept the report."

"It just doesn't make any sense that they would have not considered all the things they had to consider before they voted the first time," he said.

The two sides will go back to the bargaining table Tuesday if a settlement cannot be reached by the school board's vote Monday.

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