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Shaler cancels classes Tuesday, but no strike set

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 3:42 p.m.

Shaler Area School District officials pre-emptively canceled classes on the first day of school, Tuesday, because they have been unable to reach a contract agreement with their teachers union.

The Shaler Area Education Association, which represents 380 teachers, gave the district notice in June that it would strike, starting on Tuesday, if a contract agreement was not reached.

Talks are scheduled for Monday, but the district wants parents who are leaving town for the Labor Day holiday weekend to be able to make plans.

“As a courtesy to the community, a decision regarding Tuesday must be made early due to the holiday weekend,” Superintendent Wes Shipley said in a statement.

Shaler Area teachers have been working under the terms of the previous contract since it expired Aug. 15, 2011. Union and district officials have been meeting since January 2011.

This week, union officials rejected the administration's most recent proposal to enter into final best-offer arbitration, which would be the next step under state law.

Both sides will meet with the state-appointed mediator on Monday.

Students who live in the district but attend AW Beattie Career Center or private schools will go to their classes as scheduled and will continue to have transportation provided by the district.

Shipley said school would start on Wednesday if an agreement is reached over the holiday.

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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