Yough board OKs early-bird contract
By Kate Wilcox
Published: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The Yough School Board approved an early contract with the district teachers union during Wednesday night's meeting.
The “early bird negotiations” led to a contract that will be effective through June 30, 2017 and will include raises of 1.5 percent as well as step movement, similar to the previous contract, said Superintendent Janet Sardon.
Both the district and the Yough Education Association agreed to begin negotiations early in June to reach an agreement before the start of the school year, even though bargaining was not set to begin until January 2014. The contract was set to expire June 30, 2014.
An agreement was reached in August. Sardon said the district is happy with the new contract.
Teachers will continue to have three insurance plans offered through the Westmoreland County Public Schools Healthcare Consortium, and the amount that members contribute will depend on the cost of the plan they chose.
Sardon said there were only minor changes to the contract, which included language changes to the wording of teacher evaluations to conform with the state Department of Education's new teacher evaluation system.
“The teachers are pleased with the agreement and overall I am glad that our leadership team was able to work so well with the school board to get an agreement that is fair,” said education association president Doug Kasic in a news release.
The last set of contract negotiations between the district and the union lasted nearly 15 months, with teachers working without a contract for the majority of that time. During those negotiations, the union agreed to change to the health care consortium, saving the district approximately $1 million a year. The last contract also included a 1.5 percent wage increase the first year.
Also during the meeting, Sardon thanked the district's bus drivers.
“I can say things ran very smoothly,” she said of the bus routes. Some routes were changed because of the closure of the Waltz Mill Bridge over Sewickley Creek in South Huntingdon.
“It didn't make a very big difference,” Sardon said.
Kate Wilcox is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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