New Kensington-Arnold support staff contract freezes wages in first year
The New Kensington-Arnold School Board on Thursday ratified a new four-year contract with its education-support staff that includes a wage freeze in the first year.
The new contract, which goes into effect this month and extends to July 2017, covers about 50 employees including instructional aides, secretaries, personal care assistants, cafeteria monitors and two nurses.
Regina Namey, who leads the school board's negotiating committee, said the union agreed to a wage freeze in the first year of the contract and a raise of 50 cents per hour in each of the last three years.
Superintendent John Pallone said the contract results in average annual raises of less than 3 percent over the life of the agreement.
Salaries vary by position, but Pallone said most employees will earn either $13 per hour or $15 per hour during the 2013-14 school year. They are the same salaries from the 2012-13 year.
Those salaries will increase to $14.50 per hour and $16.50 per hour by the end of the 2016-17 year.
Pallone said health benefits will remain the same. Employees pay $25 per month for individual coverage or $50 per month for family coverage.
Pallone and Namey said there were few changes aside from clarifying or modernizing some contract language. Pallone said one change included making the Monday after Thanksgiving a day off for about four employees, which he said made sense since all other district employees are off work on that day.
“I think it's fair,” Pallone said of the contract.
“It's give and take,” said Namey, who negotiated several contracts from the other side of the table when she was a teacher. “You're going to get to a compromise that's beneficial for everyone.”
Laura Walker, the union's president, declined to comment other than to say she was pleased negotiations were completed.
She said the union, formally known as the New Kensington-Arnold Educational Support Personnel, approved the contract last week.
The board approved the contract in a 7-0 vote; members Deb Glushenko and Pat Petit were absent.
The board is expected to begin negotiating in January with the district's teachers union, whose contract expires next summer.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.