Shaler teachers OK strike, rip board president
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 12:32 p.m.
The Shaler Area teachers union moved a step closer to striking and on Tuesday accused the school board president of attempting to make the teachers look bad.
The union unanimously approved a strike authorization Monday night, a month after teachers said they were no longer participating in volunteer activities because they were continuing to work under the terms of a contract that expired in August 2011. The two sides have been meeting since January 2011.
“We asked our members for strike authorization because the school board has repeatedly demonstrated that it will not bargain in good faith,” union President Melissa Ravas said in a statement. “The teachers love the kids, but we are tired of being disrespected by board President Jim Giel and the board directors that he leads.”
Giel said “everything” appeared to be a sticking point but said another negotiating session is scheduled for Dec. 6. He said 70 percent of district residents don't have kids in school and senior citizens can't afford a tax increase.
“This is a tactic. I think that they think they're going to pressure the board,” Giel said. “It's a shame. I know our guys are trying to hammer out a financially reasonable deal.”
Under state law, teachers must give districts at least 48 hours' notice before striking. The vote gives Shaler union leaders, who represent 380 teachers, approval to call a strike, said Pennsylvania State Education Association spokesman Butch Santicola.
The union criticized the district for maintaining a $7.5 million fund balance while, they say, eliminating teachers and increasing class sizes. Ravas also said teachers last year proposed a one-year pay freeze. The district has 4,768 students.
Giel said the district needs to keep a healthy fund balance to pay for upcoming large increases in payments to the teachers' pension fund, debt service and any budget overruns.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Parking tickets in Downtown Pittsburgh spark outrage
- NTSB: Corroded pipe, lack of inspections led to gas explosion
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Taillon among 6 Pirates send to minor league camp
- Penn State’s Franklin cherishes memories of time spent in Pittsburgh
- LaBar: WWE’s next stars have arrived
- Jury selection begins in Jordan Miles’ second case against police
- Penguins notebook: Beau Bennett returns to practice
- Agent confirms Mendenhall retiring from NFL