Greencastle-Antrim School District teachers could go on strike in less than two weeks if a contract agreement is not reached.
Negotiations continue, with a new offer on the table from the teachers union, and on Tuesday, Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, sent a letter to parents with the nuts and bolts of what will happen if there is a strike.
GAEA and the school board came to an impasse in December after nearly a year of negotiations when the teachers voted twice to accept the recommendations of a fact-finder's report and the board voted twice to reject it.
The latest proposal from GAEA includes salary increases less than those recommended by the fact-finder, according to Brandon Solomon, vice president and lead negotiator for the teachers union. He said he cannot provide specifics about the new numbers.
The fact-finder's recommendations included salary increases affected by factors including educational levels and years of service. Those proposed increases and costs to the district were: 2.87 percent or $365,109 for 2017-18; 2.79 percent of $364,603 for 2018-19; 2.96 percent or $397,689 for 2019-20; and 2.96 percent or $409,780 for 2020-21.
A statement issued on behalf of the school district by solicitor Michael W. King of Stock and Leader on Monday reads, "On Friday, March 16, the District notified GAEA representatives that it was rescheduling the negotiation session that had been scheduled for Monday, March 19. While some minimal progress has been made, the District needs additional time to fully evaluate and analyze the cost of the latest proposal made by GAEA and to prepare a comprehensive response which will be provided to GAEA by the end of this week. The parties are scheduled to meet again on Monday, March 26.
The 180.5 members of GAEA have been working under the terms of a contract that expired on Aug. 31, 2017, and in February they authorized a strike to begin on April 4.
From the superintendent
The letter from the superintendent says:
Our first priority is to provide a quality education to our students. It is also our district’s priority to keep families informed; so that, families can make plans accordingly. Should a disruption of our school schedule occur as the result of a strike, our tentative plan will be as follows:School will be canceled during the duration of the strike. Please understand that this will extend the school calendar. All meetings previously scheduled with teachers that were to be held during the strike will be canceled due to the work stoppage. GA students enrolled in the Academy for Character Education, Virtual Classroom or Franklin Virtual Academy will not attend sessions during the strike. Cooperative Education experiences will be canceled. Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12 classrooms housed within the district will be canceled. First Steps to Learning will be canceled. Classes will continue as usual at the Franklin County Career and Technical Center. Transportation will not be provided to GAHS; however, transportation from GAHS to FCCTC will be provided each day during the strike. Classes will continue as usual at the Franklin Learning Center; therefore, transportation will run as normal. PSSA exams may be rescheduled. PDE has already been alerted; therefore, we will await direction from PDE on this area of operations. Advanced Placement Exams may be delayed, but that action must be approved by The College Board. Kindergarten registration will run as scheduled. Any student currently enrolled with Early to College programs can continue. All extra-curricular activities will run as usual except that some Assistant Coaches may assume the role of Head Coaches during the term of the strike. MS Band Front, HS Indoor Guard and HS Indoor Percussion will continue. Because of the uncertainty of the strike’s length, a decision regarding the graduation date can’t be determined at this time. Information regarding this topic will be forthcoming.
As stated above, the school calendar is dependent upon the number of days the strike or work stoppage lasts.
If a work stoppage actually occurs, a message will be sent via SchoolMessenger at least 48 hours in advance of April 4.
Also, the district’s website will be updated periodically to provide information during the work stoppage. The website is www.gcasd.org.
Prior to classes resuming, a message will be sent via SchoolMessenger.
In closing, I will continue working to keep the quality of education at GASD and my communication with our GASD families top priorities.