2015-09-24 / Front Page

School Board Responds to Teachers' Union Statement

Following is a press release issued by Wyalusing Area School Distrct Superintendent on behalf of the Board of Directors in reponse to an article appearing in the Sept. 24 issue of the Rocket-Courier, which reported the status of ongoing contract negotiations from the perspective of the teacher's union. The press release is also available on the school website.



As you may be aware, the Wyalusing Area School District Board of Directors has been negotiating diligently to reach a contract agreement with the Wyalusing Area Education Association (WAEA), the union which represents the teachers, since January of 2013. The most recent meeting was held on Labor Day, September 7th, 2015, and lasted from 7:00 PM until 1:05 AM. The Board of Directors has made every effort to provide reasonable wage increases and fair employee benefits to district teachers, but the Union is refusing to settle over three remaining issues. 

The Teachers’ Union has notified the School District of their intent to strike on October 13, 2015 if their demands are not met. While the Board of Directors values the work of our teachers, the Board is also committed to student safety, teacher training, and fiscal responsibility, in light of the current economic times. 

Fact Finding Status: The School Board requested Fact Finding by the Department of Labor on August 27, 2015 before the Notice to Strike was received from the Union. A copy of the request to the Department of Labor was shared with WAEA President Walter Fisk and Regional PSEA representative Jim Maria on August 27th when they delivered the letter at approximately 12:30 PM notifying the district that the Union had voted to strike on October 13th. The Department of Labor, denied the Fact Finding last week because the School Board, in their willingness to continue negotiating, agreed to and did meet with Union representatives on Labor Day, September 7th. Because this was prior to the Department of Labor Board meeting to Page 2 of 10 


act on the request, the need for Fact Finding in the eyes of the Labor Board was no longer needed as the parties were meeting and negotiating. The School Board may again request Fact Finding after the strike date if the need still exists. 

Below is information that will be helpful to you as you consider the Agreement the Board has offered the Teachers’ Union. 

The three (3) remaining issues are: 


1. Student Safety 


Safety, safety, safety! The Board is simply asking teachers to stay approximately an additional 8 minutes on Fridays and days before holidays like they do every other school day, until all buses are loaded and have departed from the campus. Imagine a student fight involving multiple students, imagine a bus accident as a bus turns onto Rt. 2010, imagine a student having a medical emergency before the buses depart! Imagine any number of terrible scenarios and the only staff left on campus to assist are administrators and support staff with over 1300 students on campus yet. We have been very fortunate that this has not happened to date, but we need to plan for the possibilities. 


2. Working 186 Calendar Days for 186 Days of Pay 


The Board is asking teachers to work 186 actual calendar days. The current Agreement is for 186 days, but Parent-Teacher conference day has been counted as two days for several years. The Union is counting from 8:10 to 12:00 as one day while students are in attendance and counting from 12:00-3:40 PM as 1 day while conferences are in session. The time from 3:40 to 8:00 PM is traded for early dismissal of teachers at noon the day before Thanksgiving. 

The Board is asking that the day be counted as one day from 8:10-3:40 PM. 

Two options have been offered to the Union: 


 use the Day 186 as a teacher workday in August with no meetings scheduled, or 


 schedule a separate day for Parent-Teacher conferences from 12:00 to 8:00 PM each November with no student instruction on that date. 

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3. Making up Missed Professional Development 


Isn’t it interesting that teachers who require students to make up missed assignments and quizzes want to make up their missed trainings during the regular school day only, causing a loss of instruction to students? 

The Board is asking that that teachers who miss certain Professional Development/trainings make up the training. The Board has offered to pay $24/hour for the makeup time or hire a substitute for the teacher during the school day at the option of the district administration to limit the loss of instructional time for students and because of a substitute shortage on certain days. 

A number of trainings each year are mandated by the state and federal government. The Union requests that the district pay trainers multiple times to provide the trainings at the convenience of the teacher. This is a poor use of resources and the Board is requesting that there be one makeup session. The Board is willing to pay teachers $24/hour to attend from 3:40-5:10 PM after school with advance notice of 10 or more days provided prior to the training. 

Major Items that the Two Parties Have Agreed Upon 


1. Salaries 


2013-14 = 0% 

2014-15 = 2.642% 

2015-16 = 2.642% 

2016-17 = 2.642% 

2017-18 = 2.642% 

*The total new dollars invested in teacher salaries will be $765,000 over the life of the contract which is 2.1136% over 5 years. Page 4 of 10 



2. Health Insurance: 


HDHP1 Plan (High Deductible Health Plan) 


A. District Provided HRA for Singles = $1,000 


B. District Provided HRA for Non-Singles = $2,500 


C. Employee Premium Share for Singles = $1,000/year ($19.23/week) 


D. Employee Premium Share for Non-Singles = $1,500/year ($28.85/week) 


E. The cost of the debit card to be used shall be borne by the employer. 



3. Tuition Reimbursement 



A. The district will pay for college credits in the field of administration, curriculum, or course work in any educational position up to the tuition credit rate of Mansfield University. The credits must be obtained from a USA accredited college or university. 


B. Tuition reimbursement credits will be limited to the following: 


1. Employees at Instructional Level I (0-24 credits) shall be limited to 12 credits per school year up to 24 credits. 


2. Employees at Instructional Level II shall be limited to 6 credits per year up to a total of 18 credits every five years unless the employee is enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral program. If the employee is enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral program, 6 credits per year up to a total of 30 credits per five years shall be allowed. The employee must provide a letter of acceptance into said Master’s or Doctoral program from the college or university to the superintendent prior to approval. 


C. Reimbursement will be paid upon receipt of evidence indicating successful completion of the course, submission of a transcript, and proof of payment to the superintendent. 


D. A grade of “B” or better is required in order to be eligible for reimbursement. 


E. All courses taken for reimbursement shall have prior approval from the superintendent. 

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F. Employees voluntarily leaving the district for reasons other than health or retirement before 2 calendar years from completion date of the course must repay 50% of the cost. Employees voluntarily leaving the district for reasons other than health or retirement before 1 calendar year from the completion date of the course must repay 100% of the cost. The amount will be withheld from the employee’s last paycheck. Any balance remaining must be paid within 30 days of separation from employment. 



4. Health Insurance Buyout Option – 


A. $4000 opt out payment (increased from $2,000); 


B. Evidence of coverage through a different plan must be provided; 


C. Married bargaining unit members may not be enrolled in more than 1 plan; 



5. Other Benefits Offered by the Board in the New Contract 



A. Extra Duty pay for things like supervising After-School Detention, attending trainings in the summer, etc. shall be increased from $23/hr to $24/hr. (4% increase). All extra duties shall be pre-approved by an administrator. 



B. Teacher Mentor pay shall be increased from $642 to $750 annually for veteran teachers who mentor beginning teachers. 


How Much Do Wyalusing Area School Teachers Earn? 

See the following pages. Page 6 of 10 


*Upon ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement, the salaries below will increase per the information provided above under “Salaries.” 

Teacher 

2012-13 Salary for 2015-16 (currently frozen) 

Per Diem Rate for 185 Days 

Per Diem Rate for 186 Days 

$80,855 

$437.05 

$434.70 

$80,855 

$437.05 

$434.70 

$80,855 

$437.05 

$434.70 

$79,797 

$431.34 

$429.02 

$78,739 

$425.62 

$423.33 

$77,881 

$420.98 

$418.72 

$77,832 

$420.71 

$418.45 

$77,681 

$419.90 

$417.64 

$77,681 

$419.90 

$417.64 

10 

$77,681 

$419.90 

$417.64 

11 

$77,681 

$419.90 

$417.64 

12 

$76,623 

$414.18 

$411.95 

13 

$76,623 

$414.18 

$411.95 

14 

$76,623 

$414.18 

$411.95 

15 

$76,623 

$414.18 

$411.95 

16 

$75,716 

$409.28 

$407.08 

17 

$75,565 

$408.46 

$406.26 

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