Friday, July 16, 2010
The teacher contracts in the Center Area School District and the Monaca School District differed greatly when it came to workday rules, vacancies, transfers, and pay and the new board and union have been working for nearly two years to bring them in line under the flag of the newly formed Center Valley School District. A deal was reached this week and the union and the board both gave their approval Thursday. “If you would have asked me two months ago if there would be a contract [for the start of the school year] I would have said ‘no,’” says Pennsylvania State Education Association Spokesperson Butch Santicola, “I listed this as a real crisis situation.” The five-year deal is retroactive to the first of this month. The union is not talking about specifics but Santicola says the lower pay scale of the Center teachers was brought up to the higher Monaca rates to start the calculations. Central Valley Superintendent Dan Matsook says the contract includes a pay raise of 3.5 percent and adds instructional days to the school year and time to the length of the teacher’s day. Matsook says the process went “very well” which was a good thing because both Matsook and Santicola felt the eyes of the education and political community were on them. A few other districts in the state are openly considering voluntary mergers and many are hoping to learn from the Central Valley experience. “When the dust settles and I get a chance to catch my breath, I can put together some type of a presentation that can serve as a foot print that says, ‘these are the big rocks’ and if the big rocks lineup the little rocks will fall in place,” Says Matsook. The district is still working on a deal with its support staff employees but Matsook says he is optimistic it will be finished soon. The elementary schools in the district were merged last year and the Jr high and the high school will be merged this fall.