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Waynesboro Area School Board enters into second round of fact-finding

April 16, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Locked in a contract dispute for more than two years, the Waynesboro Area School Board and its teachers union are entering a second round of fact-finding.

The Waynesboro Area Education Association, which represents 278 teachers, called for fact-finding in February.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board has assigned fact-finder Alex A. Kaschock, who also issued a report for Waynesboro in late 2010. His recommendations are nonbinding.

“He’s trying to give something both sides could accept ... While state and local economic conditions have remained largely unchanged, this is another effort to reach a settlement,” said Chris Lind, a school board member.

“We’re hoping the fact-finder will be able to create a neutral report that (both sides) can agree on and bring an end to 27 months of bargaining,” said Mike Engle of the Waynesboro Area Education Association.

A state-assigned fact-finder gathers information and makes recommendations for a “fair, equitable proposal,” Engle said.

The teachers’ last contract expired June 30, 2010, and they first met at the bargaining table early that year. Both sides say major sticking points are salaries and benefits.

Lind said negotiating team members met with Kaschock last week and will do so again Wednesday. The fact-finding report is expected about two weeks after that.

In his 2010 report, Kaschock recommended a 3 percent salary increase for 2010-11, 3.5 percent for 2011-12 and 3.5 percent for 2012-13. All those pay increases would be inclusive of “step” movement on the salary scale, referencing salary classifications based on a teacher’s number of years of experience up to 14 years.

Richard Galtman, labor attorney for the school board, has said the district will not provide retroactive bonuses. He said changes to health insurance plans could net savings that would become salary increases.

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