Methacton School District

No School for Students in Methacton School District – Teacher Strike Continues

Teachers in the Methacton School District have been working without a contract since January.   A stalemate in the bargain process led to the strike Monday by the teachers as authorized by its union, Methacton Education Association (MEA).

There are 5,000 students enrolled in the Methacton School District. The union represents 403 teachers and professional staff.

Issues being negotiated include salary, benefits, class size, teacher-student ratio and team teaching.  The talks broke down when the two sides failed to come to an agreement on how much teachers should pay for their health insurance.  The teachers argue that their salaries are in the lower range of salaries and the school district is expecting them to pay for health care as if they were in the upper range.

The teachers are using a pay freeze and delayed salary increases in the previous two four-year contracts, as examples of concessions from teachers that allowed the district to improve their finances dramatically and are unwilling to see this happen again.

The MEA released the following statement prior to striking:

The Methacton Education Association (MEA) is disappointed to announce that they were unable to reach an agreement with the School Board after the two sides bargained all afternoon and into the early evening on Sunday to avoid the potential of a work stoppage scheduled to start tomorrow.

The School Board’s position of dramatically increasing the employee’s share of the healthcare premium while not adequately increasing salaries is unacceptable to the Association. MEA was willing to increase premium share by over 23% in 3 years but that was not sufficient to the District.

In the end, MEA had 30 minutes to consider the final proposal of the Board and was more than willing to bargain later than the arbitrary 8PM deadline.

The strike will commence tomorrow at 7:30AM. MEA is willing to bargain with the District throughout the work stoppage.

It is unclear when the teachers will return to the classrooms. Pennsylvania State Department of Education rules will prevent the work stoppage from going past 15 days.  A state mediator is now involved to coordinate the exchange of proposals between parties.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Important Tredyffrin-Easttown School District Meetings . . . Includes Earned Income Tax (EIT) Discussion

For many residents, the upcoming election on November 2nd has captured your attention but there is interesting news from the T/E School Board that should not be missed.  A couple of important School Board meetings — tomorrow’s Finance Committee Meeting at 7:30 PM at the high school and the following Monday, October 18, an EIT Information session.

Topics included on the agenda for the Finance Committee Meeting:

  • Projection Model
  • Capital Sources and Uses
  • 2011-2012 Budget Calendar
  • Earned Income Tax
  • Print Shop and Printing Costs
  • Fund Balance Designation – information about the $6M accrual for untaken sick/vacation entitlement

The Finance Committee will be setting the stage for the following week’s special presentation on the EIT. 

I applaud those School Board members responsible for the October 18th public Earned Income Tax presentation.  The School Board is bringing in a third-party, a representative from the Pennsylvania Economy League to provide information about the implementation and effect of an EIT. 

This is an important meeting because the School Board will make a decision at its October 25th meeting about whether to advise the Townships of its intent to place an EIT on next May’s ballot as a voter referendum.  This notice is non-binding, and would allow the Board, the Townships and community time to fully consider the matter.

We understand that the School Board represents us, the residents.  If you do not want the School Board members to make decisions in a vacuum, than I think more of the community needs to be engaged.  There are hard decisions facing the school district in the 2011-12 school year. How do you want the Board to fund the ever-increasing deficit and the ballooning pension situation . . . increase your property taxes, cut educational programs in the district, impose an EIT?   Leaving the situation as a ‘status quo’ is not an option.  I am 100% supportive of exploring all options and democratically deciding on the best option.  Before anyone jumps in and says no one wants an EIT — and that previously the public was overwhelmingly opposed to it, we need to recognize that our options are becoming increasingly more limited.  Would you prefer a large property tax increase?  If you take an EIT and property tax increase off the table, . . . what’s left?  Educational program and staffing cuts?  Is this the answer?

We may be seeing the tip of the iceberg as more and more of the school districts are facing similar economic challenges.  Methacton School District is set to go on strike Friday, October 15.  Teachers in that Montgomery County school district have been working without a contract for over a year (contract expired June 2009).  Although wages is the main issue, other contract differences include medical premiums, the length of the work year, and the payment of postretirement medical benefits. Methacton’s School Board accepted the findings of a nonbinding fact-finder’s report this fall; but the Methacton Education Association, the teachers union, rejected it. 

I think that the TESD teachers contract is up in 2012. (Please correct me if I’m wrong).  It is going to be interesting to see if the teacher contract negotiations of Lower Merion, Radnor and Great Valley will influence our district.  The current TESD teachers contract allows for a 5% yearly increase in wages, correct?  With several School Board members terms up in 2011, it is going to be interesting to see who will decide to stay and seek re-election.  With teacher contract negotiations and the pension situation, could be a challenging 2012 for School Board members.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Community Matters © 2017 Frontier Theme