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Names, salaries of Hempfield Area teachers listed

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Monday, Jan. 29, 2007

An organization that wants to abolish public school strikes in Pennsylvania has posted the names and salaries of every Hempfield Area School District teacher on its Web site.

Simon Campbell, president of Stop Teacher Strikes Inc., said the data was posted on Friday to his organization's Web site .

StopTeacherStrikes Inc. seeks passage of state legislation prohibiting teacher strikes. Campbell, of Bucks County, started the Web site after a teachers strike in Pennsbury School District, near Philadelphia, idled his own children in 2005.

In addition to teacher salaries, the Web site lists Westmoreland County state legislators who the organization has identified as having taken campaign funds from teachers' unions.

Teacher salaries and campaign financing are public record. Campbell said he posted the figures as a means of providing "public accountability for public employees" because when public employees strike, "it's against the public interest."

Campbell also ackowledged that posting the information will draw attention to his group's efforts to make Pennsylvania the 39th state in the U.S. to outlaw teacher strikes.

"Too often, parents feel powerless," Campbell said. "We are hoping to spread our message that they don't have to feel that way, they can join us."

Campbell declined to reveal his organization's membership, but he said members hail from all over Pennsylvania.

Hempfield's teacher salaries are the second to be posted to Campbell's Web site. Earlier this month, Campbell posted salaries of teachers in Erie County's Millcreek Township School District.

Both districts are negotiating new contracts with their teachers, and each is under threat of a strike next month.

Millcreek Township's teachers intend to strike on Feb. 1 if a new contract is not in place, according to the district's Web site. Hempfield's teachers staged a 10-day strike from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4. They have issued a new strike notice for Feb. 23.

When directed to Campbell's Web site, Joe Scheuermann, president of Hempfield Area Education Association, said Hempfield teachers "are not ashamed" of their salaries.

He pointed out the Web site fails to include additional details behind Hempfield's salaries.

"What the listing of our salaries on the Internet does not provide is the level of education of each teacher listed, or the number of years they have worked to reach their salary," Scheuermann said. "Our salaries are actually low when compared to other professionals with similar levels of education."

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