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Teacher contract issues at Hampton remain unresolved

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Hampton Township School District teachers continue to work under the terms of an expired contract, and last week they took a silent stand.

More than 150 teachers from the Hampton Township Education Association, the collective bargaining unit, quietly lined the halls outside the middle school auditorium prior to the school board's reorganization meeting held in the auditorium last week.

“Hampton Township Education Association is very frustrated at the district's unwillingness to work with us on both economic and noneconomic issues throughout over a year of negotiations,” said Chuck Ceccarelli, union president, in a written statement.

The teachers' contract expired at the end of last school year, in June 2012, and the union bargaining team and district representatives meet about once per month to negotiation with a state-appointed mediator present.

The Hampton Township Education Association and district officials have agreed not to discuss negotiations in public.

The parties last met on Monday, Nov. 19. The next scheduled meeting is next Wednesday, Dec. 19.

“I believe that all sides understand that we are in a difficult and unique economic environment,” said school board President David Gurwin.

“State funding has been reduced, and its future levels are uncertain. We are facing significant increases in our required (Public School Employees' Retirement System) contributions. The cost of health care continues to increase; the law places limits on the ability of school districts to raise taxes beyond a certain indexed amount, etc.

“All of these issues are impacting our discussions. I am hopeful that we will be able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of these issues. The board is committed to serving the interests of our school district and its students and the taxpayers in our district.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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