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Fact-finder's report in Waynesboro teachers contract dispute released

May 11, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A fact-finding report in the contract dispute between the Waynesboro Area School Board and its teachers union that was released Friday recommended teachers pay more for their medical coverage, while receiving a $1,200 pay increase for two of the three years of the pact.

The Waynesboro Area Education Association, which represents 278 teachers, accepted the report, but the school board rejected it.

The teachers have been working without a contract since June 30, 2010.

 The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board assigned Alex A. Kaschock to the school district on February 21, 2012, for a second round of fact-finding. He had issued his first report in late 2010.

Kaschock’s latest report, dated April 30, 2012, calls for a three-year agreement that would run from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2013.

The report calls for wage increases of 0 percent the first year, a $1,200 raise for every teacher the second year, effective July 1, 2011, and a $1,200 raise (inclusive of step movement — average increase) the third year.

 The association had proposed no pay increase in 2010-2011; 2.75 percent in 2011-2012; 3.5 percent in 2012-2013; and 3.75 percent in 2013-2014.

 Currently, the district provides teachers with two Capital Blue Cross Preferred Provider Organization plans. An employee with individual coverage pays nothing, while the highest family coverage is up to $17 a week.

The report also recommended no changes to the medical insurance in 2010-201, but in 2011-2012, PPO Plan 1 would be eliminated from the medical plan, and employees would pay a 7 percent premium for all levels of coverage for each plan option selected. That change would be retroactive to 2010.

In 2012-2013, the employee would pay an 8 percent premium for all levels of coverage.

 The fact-finding report calls for the district to reimburse full-time employees $1,200 for dental and vision expenditures in the first and second year and $800 in the third year for an individual, $1,200 for two-party and $1,600 for family.

The report recommends that no changes be made to the salaries of activity advisers, coaches and department heads.

A second vote can be taken “not less than five days nor more than 10 days after the publication of the fact-finders’ report and recommendation,” according to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

Both the association and the board plan to vote again on Tuesday.

Despite a community campaign to encourage board members to accept the fact-finding report, school board Vice-President Chris Lind said that’s unlikely.

He said the board rejected the report because the school district doesn’t have the money to fund its recommendations.

“It would cost us between $1 million and $1.1 million over the next year to fund that contract,” Lind said.

Association President Mike Engle said the union leadership is recommending the membership accept the report again, “even though it is lower than other districts have settled for.”

“The fact-finder would not have written it if he didn’t think they (district) could afford it,” Engle said.

The Waynesboro school board is slated to discuss the fact-finders’ report, and lay out its decision to reject it during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Due to the large crowd expected, the meeting has been moved from the administration building to the Waynesboro Area High School auditorium at 7 p.m.

“We feel that we’ve been bending over backwards trying to reach an agreement, and the board has barely moved,” Engle said.

Board member Rita Daywalt said two of the biggest stumbling blocks between the district and the association are salary and retroactivity.

“The Waynesboro Area School Board absolutely cannot and will not offer retroactivity. We can’t afford it,” Daywalt said.

The association has argued that the district has a strong reserve fund, but Lind said that’s not fully accurate.

While there is $5.9 million in the district’s reserve fund, he said $2.6 million has been allocated for known expenses, which leaves $3.3 million — with a $3.5 million lawsuit hanging over the district.

 ”We can’t blow all of our reserve,” he said.

Lind said there are only three ways to fund the fact-finders’ report: use the reserve fund, raise taxes past the tax index or eliminate 12 to 15 teachers and cut programs.

“The district can afford it. He’s (Lind) not taking into account the additional contributions from our health care, the savings from retiring teachers and the rumored retiring teachers who are not going to be replaced,” Engle said.

To view the complete fact-finders’ report, log onto www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/fact-finding_reports/10498

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