Following up on the Penns Manor School District’s teacher strike, the school board and the teachers union are still at odds about the new contract.
Over a hundred people attended a Q and A session hosted by the district to hear from the school board about their side of the negotiations. Teachers as well as parents and residents had an opportunity to voice their opinions.
The district has been in negotiations since January of last year while the last contract expired in July. The district is trying to eliminate spousal insurance for those who have partners working in public school districts. During the Q and A they said only 7 spouses of Penns Manor School District employees would need to transition to their employer’s insurance. If the district is unable to continue talks with the association there is the possibility of the contract going to an arbitrator for a recommendation.
“The district tonight presented their plan in terms of how they were only focusing on taking spouses off of our healthcare who worked in other districts, The reason that’s a slippery slope and the reason that’s not acceptable to our members is that it can lead to individual plans only which would mean we no longer have the option of our children on our healthcare plans. We can’t accept that.”
There is also worry that the district’s proposed contract would make the school less attractive to potential employees.
“How can we make sure Penns Manor remains a competitive school district in this county especially for young teachers who are starting to enter the field? The district’s latest proposal isn’t doing anything to incentivize young teachers to apply here over applying in other districts in the county.”
Many teachers and parents also spoke about inconsistencies they found within the district’s proposal. While the district presented its reasonings for the cuts, those including rising healthcare costs, expenses in education as well as many other specific district challenges, the association cited the district’s audited financial statements which show over 7 million dollars left in savings in the 2020-2021 school year.
“I don’t think it’s uncommon for a school district solicitor to do the song and dance and really try to sell their proposal but some of the numbers definitely don’t add up, Some of the comparisons definitely don’t add up.”
There is no future meeting scheduled at this time and the teacher’s strike will continue on Tuesday.