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No progress made in Waynesboro teacher talks

June 01, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The teachers union and the Waynesboro Area School Board have hit an impasse.

Richard Galtman, the chief negotiator for Waynesboro Area School Board, said no progress was made during Wednesday’s negotiations between the board and the Waynesboro Area Education Association, which represents 271 members.

Teachers rejected the board’s May 11 contract offer. Both parties also met on April 13.

Both sides say the major stumbling blocks between the district and the teachers are salary and benefits.

Galtman and the chief negotiator for the union see the negotiating sessions very differently.

“The ball’s in their court, because we made the last proposal on May 11,” Galtman said. “The union shaved its proposal a little bit from April 13 without major changes and did not agree to anything from our proposal from May 11.”

The district’s proposal includes step and column increases in the second and third years of the contract. The first year of the proposed contract — the current school year — would still be a zero year, Galtman said.

Column increases are what teachers receive when they hit certain levels of credits while furthering their education.

Mike Engle, chief negotiator for the union, said a counter proposal was presented to the board, but “they rejected it in totality, and didn’t want to discuss any portions of it.”

Engle said the counter proposal includes:

  •  Year 1 (current school year): 0 percent salary increase with step movement the final pay of the year

  • Year 2  (2011-12): 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent on scale, respectively

  • Year 3 (2012-13): 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent on scale, respectively

“Their proposal was May 11, and the board was not willing to discuss any of the pieces of their previous proposal,” Engle said.

The teachers contract expired on June 30, 2010. The union authorized a strike, but has not initiated one.

The last time the teachers went on strike was in the early 90s, Engle said.

“As long as each side is wiling to make some movement there is always the possibility of progress and tonight the board did not seem willing,” he said.

“The ball is in their court because we made the last proposal. They shaved a little off their salary proposal,” Galtman said. “The district feels it has a fair and equitable proposal that is fiscally sound and intelligent that reflects the economic realities that we are facing.”

The next meeting is schedule for Aug. 3.

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