Now that the 2nd vote on the Fact Finder report is behind us, it is my understanding that the school board and the teachers return to traditional method of negotiations. As the clock ticks down the remaining days of summer vacation, can we assume that schools in T/E will open on schedule. It is my understanding that until there is a new contract; the teachers will continue to work to the terms of their expired contract.
But how long can the T/E school district budget afford for the teachers to work to the old contract?
The Neshaminy teachers and the school district have been locked in a vicious contract debate for 4+ years with neither side willing to budge – sticking points in the bitter contract dispute is healthcare and salary. It is my understanding that the teachers want a 5% salary increase retroactively for the last 4 years.
As I wrote in January of this year, the teachers in the Neshaminy School District are the highest paid in the state but if we look at PSSA results, the Neshaminy School District doesn’t even make the top 50 in the state, coming in at number 245 among Pennsylvania’s 500 districts. Over half of the Commonwealth’s school districts have outperformed Neshaminy on PSSA tests for the last 10 years. Compare that to Tredyffrin Easttown School District and the ranking of third in the state. If the highest paid teachers, working in a school district that underperforms 50% of all other school districts in the state, are willing to strike twice in 6 months … what does that mean for other districts with teacher contracts pending?
Lower Merion School District is in a similar situation to TESD. Lower Merion’s teacher contract expired the end of June and the 1,300 union members are working ‘for now’ under the provisions of the old one. With school scheduled to open on Tuesday in Lower Merion, the School District officials and the union are set to negotiate tonight to see if they can settle.
Most people who I have spoken with do not believe that our teachers will strike in TESD. I am not sure what is to be gained by a teacher strike, aside from many aggravated parents. Or is it possible that teachers can be pushed to a point where they feel this is their only option?