Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

10 Allegheny Districts Lack School Contracts State Budget Impasse Tied to Stalled Talks, Including Pittsburgh

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

10 Allegheny Districts Lack School Contracts State Budget Impasse Tied to Stalled Talks, Including Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

About a week before classes are scheduled to start in many school districts, 10 Allegheny County districts and their teachers are still in contract negotiations.

"The big thing right now is the uncertainty with the [state] budget," said Matthew Edgell, region advocacy coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, as the state passed the seven-week mark without a budget for 2015-16.

"With the lack of movement at the bargaining table in Harrisburg, there's a lack of movement at the bargaining table of the local school districts," he said.

The largest school district without a new contract is Pittsburgh, where the contract expired in June.

Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, said negotiations took place last week and are scheduled for this week.

"They are proceeding," she said. "I'd love to be able to say we're going in [to the start of the school year] with a contract. I don't know that we'll be able to get there that fast."

In Pittsburgh Public Schools, ninth-graders start Aug. 28, most other students start Aug. 31 and kindergartners start Sept. 3.

"It would certainly move things along, I would think, if we had a state budget, but I really admire Gov. [Tom] Wolf for standing up for education and our students," Ms. Esposito-Visgitis said.

As well as Pittsburgh, the list of contracts still under negotiations includes Baldwin-Whitehall, Brentwood, Duquesne, Highlands, Northgate, South Allegheny, South Park, Sto-Rox and Wilkinsburg. Duquesne is in the midst of a wage reopener.

In addition, new teacher contracts are unresolved at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and A.W. Beattie Career Center as well as some districts in other counties, such as Peters, California Area, Butler Area, South Butler County, Ambridge Area, Central Valley, Freedom Area, Belle Vernon Area, Derry Area, Greensburg Salem, Monessen and Kiski Area. …

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