Armstrong School District, union agree on new contract
By Tim Karan
Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Don't look now, but Armstrong School District just managed to solve another potentially problematic issue without any controversy, posturing or long-winded diatribes — none at public meetings, at least.
ASD has amicably reached an agreement with the Armstrong Education Association (AEA) to establish a new contract for teachers and staff for the years 2014 through 2016.
The new contract provides for no increase to the salary schedule for the 2014-15 school year and just a one percent increase for 2015-16.
During a regular meeting Monday evening, Superintendent Stan Chapp expressed gratitude to the members of the AEA who he said put the district's dire financial needs ahead of their own.
“As you know, school districts have not had very many (funding) increases over the past three years,” said Chapp. “In fact, none of the school districts across the state have. So we're very proud to come to an agreement.”
Although the district's 2013-14 budget won't be finalized until June, business manager John Zenone said at a previous meeting that as state funding dwindles to a trickle and expenses grow exponentially, next year's budget of $97.5 million is up $11.5 million from this year.
Employee salaries and benefits make up 64 percent of the district's expenses, according to Zenone.
But as part of the newly approved contract, AEA also has agreed to move the district from the Highmark PPO benefits plan to the Highmark Qualified High Deductible plan, which will yield savings to ASD.
The change will be voluntary for employees during the final year of the existing contract but will be fully implemented when the new contract takes effect in 2014.
Chapp said this gesture will go a long way toward building ASD's fiscal stability in the coming years.
“This is a significant change for our staff members who are looking to work with the community and help the school district as much as they possibly can,” said Chapp.
“We look to save around $3 million in premiums cost over the course of the next several years.”
Board president Joe Close also praised the generosity of the AEA.
“It does really help the district and we're really proud of our staff that they're willing to help us in these times,” said Close.
“Truly, we have a great staff we employ here and we're thankful we have those people. I can't thank them enough.”
Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- New Ken cocaine dealer released on bail before sentence
- No one injured in clothes dryer explosion
- Man stabs couple who took him in, police say
- Plumcreek fire victim identified
- Park structure at center of Ford City investigation
- District weighs AP test charges
- Belmont Complex plans ribbon-cutting to show off $2M in renovations
- County board seeks members
- Kittanning vigil planned for mother in fatal collision
- Kittanning Salvation Army raises red-kettle goal by 12%
- Ford City OKs 3 police officers