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East Allegheny teachers threaten fall strike

| Monday, May 12, 2014, 2:06 p.m.

Teachers at East Allegheny School District on Monday threatened to strike on the first day of school in the fall if a tentative contract is not reached.

Cheryl Ihnat, president of the East Allegheny Education Association, said she hand-delivered to Superintendent Roger D'Emidio the notice of the union's intent to walk out.

“We want to keep our students in school; that's why we're giving notice now. Hopefully, people will feel this is important,” Ihnat said, adding that she hopes the issue will be on the agenda at the next school board meeting.

D'Emidio said the board will continue to bargain during summer months and hopes to reach a settlement “that reflects a fair solution for our teachers, taxpayers and students.”

The district's 128 teachers have worked without a contract since the end of the 2011-12 school year. The district covers East McKeesport, North Versailles, Wall and Wilmerding.

Ihnat said members of the bargaining union authorized East Allegheny Education Association leaders to call a strike on May 6.

Neither side would specify sticking points in contract talks but referenced economic concerns.

“At this point, the district continues to operate with a structural deficit and state funding remains relatively flat. We have not yet received a proposal from the association that the district could afford,“ D'Emidio said.

Said Ihnat: “We know we're not a rich district, but it's a matter of coming to the table in good faith.”

Debra Erdley is a staff writer forTrib Total Media.She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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