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Waynesboro Area School Board rejects fact-finders report

Waynesboro Area Education Association President will not rule out a strike

May 08, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — By an 8-1 vote, the Waynesboro Area School Board rejected a fact-finder’s report that could have ended more than two years of stalled contract negotiations between the board and the Waynesboro Area Education Association.

Bonnie Bachtell was the lone board member to vote in favor of accepting the fact-finder’s report.
This is the second round of fact-finding, and was called for by the association.

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

Teachers have been working without a contract since June 2010.

Waynesboro Area Education Association President Mike Engle said he was disappointed by the board’s vote.

“We would like to finish this,” Engle said. “How can you bargain with somebody that doesn’t want to compromise?”

The teachers received the fact-finder’s report Monday and will vote on whether to approve or reject it today.

The leadership is encouraging them to accept it, he said.

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Engle would not rule out a strike.

Since the fact-finder’s report was rejected a second time, Engle said the law allows the teachers to strike.

That strike vote will be taken today, he said.

“With the board refusing to compromise on this latest fact-finder’s report, we have fewer options available and are being pushed closer in that direction,” Engle said in a news release from the association following the board’s rejection vote.

Board members declined to comment about their vote.

The teachers’ last contract expired in June 30, 2010, and the sides have been unable to reach an agreement since.

The major stumbling blocks in the dispute have been salaries and medical benefits.

Saturday will mark the 675th day that the teachers have been working without a contract, Engle said.

Under the guidelines of the Pennsylvania Labor and Industry’s Act 88, which pertains to labor negotiations involving a fact-finder, if both sides approve the fact-finder’s report, it becomes the new contract. If either side rejects the report, there is a five- to 10-day cooling-off period for both sides, and the report is made available on the labor relations website. Both sides then vote on the report again after the cooling-off period.

In other action, the board unanimously hired Wendy L. Royer as the district’s assistant superintendent.

Royer, of Waynesboro, will begin her duties Aug. 1 at a salary of $110,000. Her contract extends until July 30, 2015. She is currently superintendent of schools for the Springfield Township-Montgomery County (Pa.) School District, as well as adjunct professor at Arcadia University’s doctoral program in Philadelphia.

From 1992-96, Royer was an instructional-support teacher in the Waynesboro Area School District and in 1996, she was the acting principal at Summitview Elementary School.

Sherian Diller, who was named superintendent earlier this year, will assume dual duties immediately as district assistant superintendent, as well as continue in her role as principal of Mowrey Elementary School.

Board Vice President Chris Lind said that action will help facilitate the transition.

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