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Chambersburg school board approves two-year contract with teachers union

Union vote scheduled for April 6

March 30, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — After a brief 15-minute executive session Wednesday, the Chambersburg Area School Board took the next  step toward a new contract for its teachers.

By a unanimous 9-0 vote, the board formally approved a tentative two-year contract that would cover the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. Negotiating teams from the school district and the Chambersburg Area Education Association agreed on the tentative deal last week after a 6 1/2-hour meeting.

“It took a long time and a lot of effort to reach this agreement,” board member Anne Boryan said just before the vote. “It’s a good one because it’s good for the community, it’s good for the teachers, and most of all, it’s good for the students because there was no interruption in their education.

“Is it the best for everyone? I doubt it. That would be very, very difficult to do,” she said. “But this agreement is fair, and that’s why I believe it’s a good one.”

District officials have not yet released the terms of the contract and won’t do so until the union votes on April 6, according to Sylvia Rockwood, director of human resources for the district.

CAEA President Dave Snyder was not present at the special meeting, which was held inside an empty Chambersburg Area Middle School auditorium, but he was reached for comment Wednesday night.

“That probably says a lot in itself. The board doesn’t tend to vote 9-0 often,” Snyder said after hearing the news. “I think they probably figure that this was a pretty good deal for them and that’s why they voted that way.”

Snyder was quick to mention that they are not out of the woods yet. The union’s collective vote isn’t guaranteed to be all positive, he said.

“Of course, after 15 months, I would like to see this thing end, but it’s going to take our membership to approve it before it’s going to end,” Snyder said. “Nobody’s really sure what’s going to happen until that vote is counted.”

CAEA leadership updated its members on the tentative agreement earlier this week and they received the final language of the contract Wednesday, Snyder said.

“They’ll have a week to look at it before they vote, and that vote will happen next Wednesday,” he said.

Chambersburg teachers have been working under a contract that expired in June 2010. The CAEA is made up of more than 500 teachers.

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