On Thursday, June 7th and Monday, June 18th the Tredyffrin-Easttown Education Association and T/E School Board representatives met off-the-record in an attempt to resolve roadblocks to a fruitful contract negotiation process. TEEA would like to maintain transparency with the community as the contract negotiation proceeds. Below, find the developments related to these talks:
Compromise to Move Process Forward
On Thursday, June 14, the Tredyffrin-Easttown Education Association and T/E School Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that modifies the existing teacher contract for one year.
Recognizing the financial challenges the community is facing, TEEA has agreed to modify the provisions of the teacher contract regarding tuition reimbursement. During the 2012-13 school year, TEEA members agree to temporarily waive tuition reimbursement for all members except for those obligated by the state to continue their post-Bachelor’s education and for those currently enrolled in a Master’s degree program. The Memorandum represents meaningful savings for the District, estimated by TEEA to be more than $400,000. Because of these savings, teacher demotions as a cost-saving strategy was no longer necessary for the passage of the 2012-13 final budget at the June 14th School Board meeting.
TEEA believes this temporary agreement should allow the negotiations process to move forward without the issue of immediate teacher demotions as a hindrance to the process. Nevertheless, our goal continues to be a contract settlement that makes such memorandums unnecessary in the future. We remain committed to a sustainable solution to the financial challenges faced by the District.
On Monday, June 18th, TEEA made a two-year off-the-record proposal that included a reduction in health care benefits, an increase in health care premium share including a shift to percentage-share, a reduction in advanced studies assistance, and a full salary freeze in the first year. In return, TEEA asked for salary schedule advancement for non-master teachers in year two, a one-year-only “off-schedule” salary premium for master teachers in year two, and “no-demotions” language for the duration of the contract. This offer was rejected.
Instead, the District asked TEEA members to take a larger compensation reduction of approximately $8000 per teacher, equaling as much as a 13% reduction for some, and TEEA rejected it.
As a result, TEEA believes that we have reached a bargaining impasse. We have requested fact-finding from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. This is a process under Act 195 that is used to resolve labor negotiations that have reached an impasse. The Labor Relations Board will appoint a fact-finder to hear the case. Both sides will present evidence supporting their position. The fact-finder will issue a non-binding report on the findings and recommend a basis for settlement, which must be voted on by both sides.
TEEA believes that we have made every effort to be reasonable and respectful to the District. The TEEA contract expires on June 30th. We hope the fact-finding process will provide a means to contract settlement in the absence of fruitful bargaining.
We thank the community for your continued support and encourage residents to stay informed as the fact-finding process moves forward.