WASD teachers, school board continue contract talks

Board now considering raises for second and third years of contract

March 02, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Bargaining teams for the Waynesboro Area School District teachers and school board met Wednesday evening to continue negotiating a contract that would be retroactive to July 1, 2010.

The sides have been hashing out the details of a pact since early 2010.

"While no formal, final agreement has been reached tonight, the parties did make progress. We were able to reach agreement on four or five items," said Richard Galtman, lead negotiator for the school board.

Negotiators for the Waynesboro Area Education Association did not return a phone call before deadline.

The school board initially proposed no salary increases through 2013-14. It is now considering no increase for the first year of the contract, followed by a lump sum payment for the second year and normal step/column movement for the third year of a three-year contract.

Galtman said teachers would not change their "step" or "column" in the first two years, referring to employee classifications that affect salary.

The move reflects several issues affecting school district budgeting in Pennsylvania, Galtman said. That includes increased contributions to the retirement system, expiring stimulus funds and property tax caps established by Act 1 of 2006, he said.

Those issues, coupled with economic concerns, have created uncertainty for school district budgets in the next couple of years, Galtman said.

"Right now, in the short term, I think that is the best the district can do," he said of the proposal.

Galtman said the past few negotiating sessions have focused on reviewing aspects of a report issued in December by state fact-finder Alex Kaschock. According to a copy of that report on the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board's website, the fact-finder recommended:

2010-11: 3 percent, including step increase

2011-12: 3.5 percent, including step increase

2012-13: 3.5 percent, including step increase

(Maintain current provisions for step increases)

The teachers, who have authorized their leadership to call for a strike, accepted the fact-finding report's recommendations, while the school board rejected it.

The sides scheduled their next meeting for later this month, Galtman said.

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