Greater Latrobe teachers, school board approve 5-year contract
Greater Latrobe School District's teachers union and school board brought an end to 14 months of negotiations after both sides approved a new five-year contract Tuesday night.
The deal will cost the district about 2.75 percent more than the previous contract from 2010-14.
Teachers will be able to choose from four different health plans through the Westmoreland County Public School Healthcare Consortium.
Depending on the plan, contribution to premiums will increase between 6 percent and 16 percent through July 31, 2019.
The 265-member Greater Latrobe Education Association had a “very good turnout,” said union president Diane Penzera, who declined to disclose the vote tally.
The association held a meeting in the high school auditorium during the regular school board meeting Tuesday night. Administrators waited for a decision from the union, then ratified the agreement with a unanimous vote at about 10 p.m.
“We're not doing backflips,” Penzera said. “We're not elated, but we're satisfied, given the circumstances we all have to work in and survive in because we're members of the community, too.”
Teachers have been working since Aug. 1 without a contract and had been negotiating since last fall.
Business administrator Dan Watson said the district is glad the process worked more smoothly than the last contract.
“I think that the fact that we were able to get a settlement earlier on in the school year and it didn't drag out until December, I view that definitely as a positive,” he said.
Lori Stripay, labor relations specialist with the Pennsylvania State Education Association, said when both sides need to make concessions, as in this case, the contract is fair.
“We hope that the school board remembers we are an important part of the educational process,” she said. “You can have great books, you can have a great curriculum, you can have great technology, but you have to invest in the people.”
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or email@example.com.