Elizabeth Forward board OKs teachers contract
Elizabeth Forward School District's board of directors voted 7-1 on Monday to approve a three-year contract with the union representing its 185 teachers and other professional employees.
Director Charles Bakewell was the lone no vote. He questioned the status of the district's athletic trainer.
Voting to approve were board president Philip Martell and directors Margaret Morgan, Megan Ferraro, Scott McVicker, Dr. Robert Rhoderick, Mary Scarry and Dorothy Wycoff.
Morgan, who chaired the district's negotiation team, said in a statement that the salary schedule and health insurance contributions were the stumbling blocks to an agreement.
“The (Elizabeth Forward Education Association) has agreed to a salary freeze in the first year of the contract with step movement, which is an increase in salary, in years two and three,” Morgan said. “The salary schedule will remain at the 2012-13 rates throughout the contract except for (the top) step 19.”
“Step 19 is a year or two longer than in surrounding districts,” Solicitor Pat McGrail said. “If a teacher is already there, it's an $1,100 increase (in each year). If not, the teacher gets step movement plus $1,100 (for a year).”
Morgan said the teachers' health care contribution will be 3 percent of the current premium.
The contract is retroactive to Sept. 1 and continues through the 2015-16 school year. It succeeds a five-year pact that expired on Aug. 31.
Director Michael O'Rourke was absent. For Rhoderick and Scarry, it was the last meeting before their terms expire. The board is scheduled to reorganize on Dec. 3.
Education association president Bernice Kirby attended the brief board meeting but declined comment, referring questions to Pennsylvania State Education Association UniServ representative Christine A. Cortazzo.
Cortazzo said in an automated email that she is out of her Pittsburgh office until Dec. 3.
The district's comments about the contract were similar to those Cortazzo made when the two sides approved state fact-finder Jane Minnich's recommendations.
“The Elizabeth Forward Education Association recognizes that the current financial status of the Elizabeth Forward School District is precarious at this time,” Cortazzo said on Oct. 21.
Cortazzo said the teachers gave up protective language that helps to prevent the district from being able to furlough teachers in disciplines such as music, physical education, computers and library.
“The final agreement is not exactly what the fact-finder issued,” McGrail said. “Further negotiations were needed because of some ambiguities.”
One was the status of the athletic trainer. Bakewell questioned the effect of including the trainer in the union's bargaining unit.
“The fact-finder's report was silent as to the athletic trainer,” McGrail said.
Bakewell pressed the issue but Martell cut off the discussion, suggesting it was getting into personnel matters that should go into executive session.
Bakewell said he “agreed in principle” with the contract but did not feel he received enough answers.
Morgan hailed Cortazzo and union officials “for their hard work and willingness to negotiate with the interest of not only their fellow union members but the interest of the financial well-being of the (district).”
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, 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.
- Legos, computers draw students to Elizabeth Forward tech camp
- 4-D Theater debuts at Kennywood
- Foundation fundraiser stylish in ‘Simply Silver’
- Local sex charges against former East McKeesport official dropped
- Elizabeth Forward community offers support to family of drowning victim
- Victim still hospitalized; McKeesport bar shooting hearing postponed
- Narcotics officers thwart Elizabeth drug deal
- Elizabeth Forward board OKs cost to move trailer