Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teachers Pact a Waiting Game for Board, Union Both Groups Offer 'Final Best Offers' on Contract

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teachers Pact a Waiting Game for Board, Union Both Groups Offer 'Final Best Offers' on Contract

Article excerpt

The East Allegheny school board and teachers' union are awaiting the next phase in contract negotiations.

The district has posted "final best offers" from the school board and the East Allegheny Education Association on the district's website at eawildcats.net.

Cheryl Ihnat, president of the 134-member teachers' union, said the union's written best offer on the district website is correct. The proposals cover a five-year contract period of July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2017.

Both final best offers accept a retroactive wage freeze during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years.

The district's offer proposes a continuance of the wage freeze during the current, 2014-2015, school year, with a $1,100 lump-sum bonus for each employee.

The union proposes a wage freeze the first half of this school year, and step raises on the salary schedule for the second half.

Step increases are yearly raises that are built into most teachers' contracts, and represent how many years a teacher has been teaching and what level of education each teacher has.

In the East Allegheny district, step raises to the highest step salary level can be as much as $8,474 per teacher.

During the 2015-2016 school year, the district proposes one step raise for any employee below Step 16 on the salary scale, and a $1,000 lump sum payment for teachers who have reached Step 16, the highest level.

For the 2015-2016 school year, the teachers'union proposes step increases on the salary schedule and a $1,000 payment to those at Step 16.

During the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years, the union wants teachers' contributions to their health plans to be limited to $70 per month plus 50 percent of any premium increases toward their health insurance, capped at $150 in insurance payments per month.

Class size is also an issue.

The district's proposal states "Nothing in this agreement requires the establishment of a particular class size for any class," and suggests that the board and union meet at the beginning of each school year to address concerns about class sizes too large to allow effective teaching or too small to meet district financial goals. …

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