Thursday, November 4, 2010

Negotiators Try To Avert Moon Teachers' Strike

The Moon Area School District is preparing for a teachers strike that is scheduled to begin Monday. That is, unless a bargaining session this weekend is successful. Butch Santicola, spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, said he thought they would be closer to a settlement at this point...

"We have bargaining session set for Saturday and we had hoped that it would be a positive event but yesterday (Wednesday) the superintendent sent letters home with the students indicating schools will be canceled on Monday. In our view, that means they have no intention in settling."

However, in the letter, which is also posted on the school district's web site, Superintendent Donna Milanovich said that if the strike position by the union changes Saturday, the district will alert parents by automated phone calls, the web site and the media.
Santicola says the contract stumbling blocks are the "usual ones"....length of the school day and year, salary and benefits. He's not very hopeful but says Monday's strike can be averted...."If there's enough progress, if we get closer to a settlement, if there is progress made, I believe there would be a reconsideration(of the walkout)....yes."

The district plans to use administrators to teach seniors during a strike so their graduation will not be delayed.
Santicola estimates if the teachers do strike, they could be out till December 13 (23 class days) before they would have to return under state law, but the final determination is made by the State Department of Education.

Meantime, contract talks resume Friday morning in the Bethel Park School District where teachers have been on strike since October 25. The district says salary, health care premium contributions and length of school day are the points of contention. Starting Monday, the district plans to use administrators to teach seniors.

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