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Chartiers Valley teachers OK contract extension

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 8:39 p.m.

Chartiers Valley School District and its teachers union achieved another three years of labor peace last week — and the two sides did it more than a year before the teachers' contract expired.

The Chartiers Valley Federation of Teachers and the school board on Feb. 26 each approved a three-year contract extension, through the 2016-17 school year.

“We've been working on this a long time,” Superintendent Brian White said at the Feb. 26 school board meeting. “I'm happy to say I'm very proud of what we accomplished.”

White said the district and teachers had been negotiating the extension for the past year. The old contract wasn't set to expire until the end of the 2013-14 school year.

The last time the two sides negotiated a contract, teachers worked the 2009-10 school year under the terms of their previous deal.

The district and CVFT released a joint statement Feb. 27 thanking “the members of the Chartiers Valley Federation of Teachers, administration and school board for developing a shared vision that focuses our resources on equipping our students to achieve personal success.”

CVFT President Sally Shollenberger could not be reached for comment.

In the new agreement, salaries will rise an average of 2.05 percent over three years. The district said the increase could be closer to 6 percent, depending on teacher retirements this year, but the figure won't be known until spring.

There will be no increase in the percentage employees pay for their medical expenses, and the number of work days will drop from 193 to 190.

Additionally, the contract lengthens employee work days to eight hours from the current 7.5, beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

The deal also allows establishing curriculum leaders, who will work with administrators to align programs to the district's strategic plan, and allows “instructional practitioners,” inexperienced teachers who would work under a “master teacher” in the classroom.

White said the instructional practitioner position will help the district develop a deeper candidate pool of teachers.

“It gives us an enormous amount of flexibility,” he said.

School board members praised White for getting the deal done a year in advance.

“I just want to thank Brian for all of his hard work on this,” board President Pam Poletti said. “This is unheard of, to bring this (to agreement) this early.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or dgulasy@tribweb.com.

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