Share This Page

Frustration grows as contract negotiations at Shaler Area yield no results

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

Dissatisfaction is mounting in the Shaler Area community as teachers continue to work under the terms of a contract that expired more than 560 days ago because the district and the Shaler Area Education Association, the collective bargaining unit, have not reached an agreement on a new contract.

Parents, taxpayers and teachers have filled the audience at the monthly school board voting meetings for the past three months to express their frustration and urge a resolution.

“This school district is an embarrassment,” said Chris Weaver, a Shaler Area parent, who was the lone speaker at the Feb. 20 meeting even though the Shaler Area Elementary School auditorium had close to 100 parents and teachers in attendance.

Weaver came to the podium to speak after the school board adjourned its meeting, but the board members gave him three minutes to talk. After school board President Jim Giel warned him his time was almost over, Weaver became more frustrated and dissatisfied with the district's response to his questioning the accuracy of the information distributed by the administration on the district's website regarding the negotiations.

“So you stalled me, like you stalled the union not to get a contract,” Weaver said as he left the podium and turned to the audience. “This is a disgrace that you would shut me down and not let me, a taxpayer, speak.”

Shaler Area teachers' have been working under the terms of the previous contract that expired Aug. 15, 2011. The Shaler Area Education Association and district officials have been meeting since January 2011 to negotiate a new contract.

The two sides met twice in January and an update posted by the administration on the district website quotes “modest” progress was made last month.

“Through the mediator, the district and teachers discussed several issues that remain on the table and they were able to make progress on some contract language,” the district's website update states. “While the progress is modest, the district is encouraged by the positive dialogue that was achieved during these negotiation sessions.”

On Nov. 19, the Shaler Area Education Association voted to authorize the union leadership to call a strike. Under the collective bargaining legislation, teachers are required to give 48-hour notice, which Shaler Area teachers now can do at any time.

The next negotiation meeting is scheduled for today, Thursday, Feb. 28.

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

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.