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Under new contract, Waynesboro teachers to get 2.25 percent pay increase for 2012-13

June 21, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Waynesboro teachers will receive a 2.25 percent pay increase for 2012-13, but forgo raises for the last two academic years, under a contract agreement reached this week after 2 1/2 years of negotiations.

Teachers voted electronically until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m., and ultimately decided to accept a mediated proposal already approved by the Waynesboro Area School Board.

Union President Mike Engle announced in an email to the media at 1:16 a.m. Thursday that a contract had been settled.

Waynesboro Area Education Association “membership voted to accept the state mediator’s proposal to conclude 30 months of bargaining and 721 days of working under the expired contract,” he wrote.

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The vote was split because of concerns about salaries being lower than those in nearby districts, Engle said.

The actual contract will be signed in the coming weeks, school board member Rita Daywalt said.

“If this had not gone through, everything would have been off the table,” she said. “The board’s position was to start again at zero.”

Negotiators started working on a new contract in early 2010 in anticipation of the last contract expiring June 30, 2010. The years since have proven tumultuous, with accusations, threats of strikes, contentious elections and sharply divided viewpoints in the community.

“In these types of situations, there is always some mudslinging,” Daywalt said.

“We hope the hard feelings that grew over the last 2 1/2 years of bargaining will dissipate,” Engle said, noting he hopes the next round of bargaining will have “mutual respect.”

“Hopefully, it’ll give us an opportunity to heal the rift between the teachers union and the board, so we can continue to make progress ... really, as a united district now,” Daywalt said.

The Waynesboro Area Education Association, which represents about 275 teachers, will withdraw a grievance that became a stumbling block in the final week of negotiations, although it might be resubmitted if the issue occurs again in the future, Engle said.

The grievance involves teachers not advancing on the pay scale when they furthered their education during 2010-11 and 2011-12, when the district was without a current contract. They could have had a higher base pay after receiving education credits.

The new, three-year contract will affect teachers differently depending where they are on the scale, Engle said. The average increase is 2.25 percent, he said.

They will not receive retroactive pay increases for 2010-11 or 2011-12.

Teachers can advance one “step” on the scale for 2012-13. Steps generally reflect number of years teaching.

In the past, the district paid the full cost of medical premiums for each employee. The health plan deductibles now will be $1,200 for single coverage or $2,400 for a family.

The school board wanted to tie salary increases to savings from changes to its health insurance offerings.

It notified its provider Thursday of the adjustments.

“The board has significant medical savings from this contract,” Engle said.

By the numbers

  • Starting salary — $42,511
  • Work year — 189 days
  • Workday — 7 1/2 hours
  • Teachers — 275
  • School board members — Nine
  • School board labor attorney cost — $185 per hour
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