Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pottsgrove OKs Teacher Pact, Some Say Goodbye

Monday night is not the regular evening for the Pottsgrove School Board to meet, but they did last night.

As many had surmised, it was likely to allow the board to meet after the teachers union, the Pottsgrove Education Association, had voted on a tentative contract deal.

And sure enough, that's what the school board did, voting unanimously to approve the contract.

It is a four-year contract which "gives teachers average salary increases of 1.48%, 3.86%, 3.53% and 3.26% in years one through four, respectively," according to a press release issued by district communications chief Michael Wagman moments after the vote took place.

Pottsgrove School Board President Justin Valentine right,
received a gift from Superintendent Shellie Feola for his
four years of service on the Pottsgrove School Board.
"Under the new contract, which will be retroactive to Sept. 1, the starting teachers’ salary would increase to $42,710 and a top-of-scale teacher (those with a master’s degree with thirty additional graduate credits plus 15 years of service in the district) would increase to $93,844," according to the release.

"In order to help offset those increases, by the end of the contract, teachers will contribute 21 percent to the cost of the District’s top tier health insurance plan; this would be among the highest  premium contributions by district personnel in the region currently. If they choose a less expensive plan, they’ll contribute 13 percent. The teachers also agreed to a less expensive prescription drug plan, which saves the school district money," the release noted.

“Contract disputes are often divisive and certainly this negotiation period was stressful. Now is our opportunity to move forward and to focus on the great work our teachers do in our classrooms," said in the release. "We believe this of a community that has to fund it.”
"PGEA is very happy that we finally reached a fair agreement," Pottsgrove High School teacher Megan DeLena, who heads the teachers union, wrote in an email to this reporter.

"We look forward to building on the progress Pottsgrove students have made and getting back to the focus of educating our children," she wrote. "We thank the community for their support."

This was also the final meeting for those leaving the board, which includes School Board President Justin Valentine, Vice President David Faulkner and members Ted Coffelt and Dee Gallion.

Faulkner was not present, but the other three spoke about their time on the board. Valentine read a statement and choked up when he thanked the Pottsgrove teachers who have helped his son.

Pottsgrove Superintendent Shellie Feola and Business Manager David Nester also reported on a trip to Harrisburg yesterday to lobby legislators about the pending budget and against its possible inclusion of legislation that would require a community vote for any tax increase.

But, Ringing Rocks being nestled into a hill as it is, I was having a hard time keeping a connection and so there are no Tweets from that portion of the meeting.

So I'm afraid you'll just have to wait for my stories in The Mercury.

In the meantime, here are the Tweets:

1 comment:

  1. As the new school board members come on board, lets all remember that the score improvements reported in the Mercury by Eric Devlin on 11/7/15 were NOT on the watch of the new board members. The board in place for 2014-2015 gets that credit. I thought I'd point this out in writing since politicians are conditioned to take credit for good things early and often...sometimes even when on someone else's watch. LOL