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Progress reported in teacher negotiations

| Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 6:59 p.m.

Greensburg Salem's school board president and the chief negotiator for the teachers union emerged from a 6 1/2-hour session Saturday reporting progress in contract talks.

Board president Trudy Ivory and Matt King, president of the Greensburg Salem Education Association, said the next meeting, slated for Nov. 29, would be important.

The district's approximately 200 teachers have been without a contract since June 30. They have been working under terms of the expired agreement.

Wages and medical insurance are not resolved.

"They were good. We're good," Ivory said of yesterday's talks as she stepped out of the senior high school.

"We'll come up with a solution, I hope. I see no reason why we can't. We're good. We really are."

King said he is optimistic, but added that details remain to be worked out. He declined to elaborate.

"We still have got numbers to crunch, both sides," he said.

Of the next meeting, King said, "Hopefully, that's the end."

As he left the high school, Director Lee Kunkle would only say when the next meeting is scheduled.

In addition to Ivory and Kunkle, Director Barbara Hinkle and chief negotiator Bill Andrews of the Andrews and Price law firm in Pittsburgh have represented the district at the talks.

A Pennsylvania State Education Association representative, King and other members of the local union's bargaining team have been involved in the discussions. A state mediator has attended.

At a session Nov. 6, teachers presented a proposal to the district over the unresolved wage and health care issues. Earlier this month, King said directors were to get back to him at yesterday's meeting with their views on that proposal.

It could not be determined what role that proposal may have had on the discussions.

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