East Allegheny teachers contract deadline looms
A war of words has broken out in East Allegheny School District, as teachers again accept a fact-finder's contract recommendations and the school board prepares for another vote Monday night on those findings.
All that comes as a June 30 expiration date looms for a three-year contract between the district and its 128-member teachers union.
A statement posted by the school board on the district's website Friday morning denied charges by East Allegheny Education Association president Lou Gerbi that the board of directors had been playing games.
It said the teachers "have one of the best wage and benefit programs in Allegheny County" with starting and top salary rates among the highest in suburban Pittsburgh.
"The average teacher's salary is higher than 35 out of the 42 school districts," the school board statement read. It also said, in part: "The district has met many times over the last six months in bargaining with the teachers association without the teachers onceaccepting that the district and its taxpayers are making a great effort in good faith to provide education for the district's youth and to reach a settlement with the Education Association."
That statement coincided with an EAEA news release, issued through the Pennsylvania State Education Association, which announced a Thursday vote on recommendations made by fact-finder Robert C. Gifford.
"Our teachers continue to display their willingness to accept concessions in order to help our students and the district," Gerbi said. "We are hopeful that the school board will step up and do the right thing this time by also accepting this report."
Gerbi also said, "We are willing to help out, but we are not willing to be bullied."
Gifford accepted the recommendation of both sides that there be a wage freeze in the coming year, but went with the teachers on the length of a subsequent contract (three rather than five years).
He also recommended increases of one-half of one percent in wages in the second and third years of a contract. EAEA said he also recommended that teachers pay 43 percent more for their health insurance over the next three years.
"The increase recommended is from $60 to $100 a month over three years," the district statement said. "This is not nearly enough. This would increase the teachers' contribution to about 5 percent of the premium for the best health insurance money can buy with low co-pays and deductibles."
Gerbi also pointed out that the district's special labor counsel Bruce Campbell requested fact-finding on April 3.The school board rejected Gifford's findings at a special meeting last week. It will consider the findings again Monday at 7 p.m. in the district administration building on the high school campus along Jacks Run Road in North Versailles Township.
The board also is expected to vote on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The "proposed final budget" of more than $30.7 million passed last month did not include any change in the tax rate.
The district rebutted the union's recommendation as reported by Gifford that taxes be raised at least to the level allowed by state Act 1.
For 2012-13, that would mean an increase of about two-thirds of one mill from the current level of 27.54 mills. Each mill nets approximately $462,000.
"The district has the highest taxes as measured by the state Department of Education of every school district in Allegheny County, except Wilkinsburg," the school board statement read.
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.
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- LaBar: WWE bans finishing move of top star
- Greensburg plastic surgeon pleads not guilty to charges of interfering with painkiller investigation
- Firefighters rescue 3 from Beechview house fire
- Scoring struggles linger for Penguins 2nd line
- Brentwood Borough School Board approves major cutbacks
- Interior linemen replace flash with experience for this year’s NFL Draft
- Pittsburgh man taken for wild ride on Route 28
- State parties lean on Hispanic officials to reach Latino voters
- Wyano woman accused of sex with 15-year-old boy
- Top-seeded CCAC-South softball ready for regionals