HomeTabernacle NewsTabernacle School District still working on teacher’s contract

Tabernacle School District still working on teacher’s contract

Tabernacle School District still working on teacher’s contract

By Katrina Grant

The Tabernacle Township School district and Tabernacle Education Association are still locked in negotiations with each other concerning the teachers’ contract. The two parties have been negotiating a contract for a year and half.

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“We started negotiations in March of 2010,” Douglass Hess, Board of Education president, said. “Three years ago, this would have just played out over a few months, but we are not in usual times. This is happening all over the state. We have also lost a lot of funding from the state. We want to come to a conclusion soon. We don’t want this to drag out much longer.”

“The Tabernacle Education Association (teachers, secretaries, classroom assistants, bus drivers, maintenance, custodians, and technology staff) have been working for almost two years with the Board of Ed towards a settlement, or a successor agreement to their contract,” Donna O’Malley, Tabernacle Education Association President said.

Each party has their own needs in the negotiations and understands that it is a different time in the economy and education, officials said.

“The salary settlement is a major issue that we are still working on,” Hess said. “It is important that we preserve jobs and preserve programs. The ability to raise taxes is not here right now. We’ve tried to raise taxes and the budget has failed. Voters reached their limit on how much taxes they are willing to pay. Uncertainty guides us.”

“We are working together cooperatively,” Victoria Shoemaker said. “We understand the budgets and constraints. All of us are happy to have jobs. We just want to be fairly compensated for that.”

“Negotiations is a difficult process during which the staff has remained professional and focused on what is important- and that is the children and their education,” O’Malley said. “The stumbling blocks we are working on are time and salary. In the past, we were able to make concessions to our benefit package in the way of co-pays, raising deductibles or even changing to cheaper health insurance plans to save the board money. However, recent legislation has taken that possibility out of our hands. We are just looking for an equitable settlement, equitable with other groups within the school that have already settled.”

The two parties will meet soon to continue negotiations.

“We know we have good staff,” Hess said. “We are just trying to manage the outside forces we have while still educating our kids.”


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