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Bargaining teams for Waynesboro school board, teachers meet

WAEA suggested looking at other health care providers offering similar coverage to save money

February 22, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Bargaining teams for the Waynesboro Area School Board and the district’s teachers union met for more than an hour late Tuesday in an impromptu negotiating session.

Leaders from both sides decided during a regularly scheduled board meeting that they would sit down afterward.

Locked in an ongoing contract impasse, school board members and representatives of the Waynesboro Area Education Association last met Dec. 12, 2011, for a negotiating session. No new sessions had been scheduled.

The two sides started meeting at the bargaining table in January 2010 to hammer out a replacement for the teacher contract that expired at the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Tuesday’s meeting provided an opportunity for the bargaining teams to review the existing proposals and look at updated financial information for the district.

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“It was a good meeting, very friendly,” said Chris Lind, a school board member who is on the negotiating team.

The “tone was polite but guarded as each side reviewed their positions and voiced concerns over the other’s positions,” Mike Engle, WAEA’s chief negotiator, wrote in an email.

WAEA suggested looking at other health care providers offering similar coverage to see if it would save the school district any money, he wrote.

Another bargaining session was scheduled for March 7.

Lind said he anticipates the next session will be casual, like Tuesday’s. He said the lawyers will get involved again when they have more of a direction.

“Our commitment is it has got to be fair. It has got to be paid for,” Lind said.

The district anticipates its state revenue will be down another $138,000 to $160,000 this year, he said.

Lind said he would have preferred to review a new proposal on Tuesday, but he is happy to be “moving along.” He said he is “cautiously optimistic” a resolution will be forthcoming.

“We all have different visions for where this will end up. ... If they’re willing to take a step, we’re willing to take a step,” he said.

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