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Valley News Dispatch

School year looms for 2 Alle-Kiski Valley districts lacking teachers contracts

Matthew Medsger
| Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Most school districts in the Alle-Kiski Valley will not have to negotiate new contracts with their teachers unions until the end of the decade.

But a failure to reach an agreement on the teachers contract at the Deer Lakes School District before the last agreement expired in June means teachers there may start the school year without a contract.

It isn't the only district working to iron out the details of faculty compensation, though most schools won't have to worry about negotiations for another couple of years.

Teachers in the New Kensington-Arnold School District have been working on a contract since January, according to district officials.

Their current contract is set to expire at the end of this month, but so far the union hasn't reached an agreement with the district. School is slated to start Aug. 24.

“We're still currently in open negotiations with the bargaining unit,” Superintendent John Pallone said.

Allegheny Valley School District, where teachers went without a contract for nearly three years, from 2009 to 2012, would have been negotiating a new agreement this year had the district and the Allegheny Valley Education Association not opted to begin negotiations early.

Those negotiations, according to district spokeswoman Jan Zastawniak began last summer and concluded with an agreement that will expire at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Zastawniak said that while the dispute left the teachers without a contract for years, negotiations since then have gone “very smooth. Most times the issues are worked through in a relatively cooperative manner.”

Teachers will get an average annual pay increase of 3.1 percent under the contract, which runs through June 30, 2022.

The Burrell School Board and the union representing district teachers approved a new deal ahead of their contract expiration deadline last May. The two sides ratified a five-year agreement that will provide teachers with average annual pay raises of 3.2 percent through the 2020-21 school year, according to Superintendent Shannon Wagner.

Ian Magness, superintendent of the Freeport Area School District, said that “there is labor peace in the district.

“We have good relationships with our teachers, and we're in good shape as far as contracts go,” he said.

The district teachers contract expires in mid-2020.

Bonnie Berzonski, spokeswoman for Fox Chapel Area School District, said the district approved a contract extension with the Fox Chapel Educators Association on May 8 that will see the district through to mid-2022.

Contract negotiations for Highlands School District teachers took more than a year after their agreement expired in June 2015, and not before the teachers held a strike.

The contract that ultimately followed will not expire until mid-2020.

The superintendents for Kiski Area and Leechburg Area school districts both report their contracts will also run through mid-2020.

Riverview School District will begin negotiations at the start of next year for a contract that is set to expire next June, according to district officials.

Apollo-Ridge School District also will begin contract negotiations next year, according to Superintendent Matt Curci.

Plum School District did not return a request for comment on the state of their teacher contracts.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675,, or on Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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