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Westmoreland

Latrobe School Board, teachers OK 5-year pact

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, 10:51 p.m.

Greater Latrobe School District has assured labor stability in its classrooms through July 2024 with a new five-year, early bird teacher contract.

The school board unanimously approved the contract Tuesday, shortly after Greater Latrobe Education Association members voted in favor of it.

The new agreement will begin Aug. 1, 2019, after the current five-year labor pact expires.

District officials noted the top step of the existing teacher salary schedule will see annual increases ranging from $900 to $1,000. The schedule includes six scales, based on a teacher’s level of higher education, each including 17 salary steps, according to district business administrator Dan Watson.

Lower salary steps, which are based on a percentage of the top step, also will increase, he said.

Of the union’s 262 members, 44 percent are currently at the top step — a percentage that is projected to increase to 69 by the end of the contract, Watson said.

Teachers will select from five health care plans offered through the Westmoreland County Public School Healthcare Consortium. They will continue to pay a share of the cost, with premium contributions increasing by $5 per month during the first four years of the contract and by $10 per month in the final year.

Early contract talks began this past spring, Watson said. Normally, they wouldn’t begin until January.

“We’re pleased to have labor stability so our teachers can focus on our students,” Watson said.

“We’re very pleased that (teachers) were interested and started the process, and that it came to a positive conclusion,” Superintendent Judith Swigart said of the talks. “The fact that we met and made progress in each meeting is a positive thing.”

The two sides “worked out a compromise that we felt was fair, reasonable and affordable,” said junior high science teacher and union President Patrick Roberts. “GLEA is happy to have a contract early and to have stability for the next five years.”

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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