New Castle News

Neshannock

March 9, 2013

Neshannock teachers seek contract talks cooperation

NEW CASTLE — The Neshannock teachers are working without a contract and they want the community to know it.

For the past two months, members of the Neshannock Township Education Association — most dressed in red — attended school board meetings to draw attention to the teachers’ plight and urge action by the board. They also distributed fliers outlining teacher contributions to the community.

Three teachers — Heather Eagleton, Kathy Kalpich and David Antognoli — urged board members to work with the teachers “to find a compromise.”

Prior to the meeting, Ed Frye, who is on the 13-member negotiating committee, said the talks have been going on for 17 months, the last four with a state-appointed mediator, but no agreement has been reached.

The district’s last contract with its 87 teachers expired July 1.

“We’re asking for a fair contract,” he said, noting the teachers continue to go to work every day and do their job, including putting in the extra time that is often required.

“Our two biggest unresolved issues are the ones that most negotiations have problems with — wages and benefits.”

The board members did not comment on the teachers’ remarks or the negotiations at the meeting.

The board also:

•Heard from Public Financial Management adviser Greg McLanahan, who outlined the district’s plan to take advantage of low-interest rates and refinance the 2008 building construction bonds. They will be sold in an Internet auction May 6, he said. The transaction is expected to save the district $1.3 million to $1.4 million over the remaining life of the bonds.

•Extended the contract with Jameson Rehabilitation Center for services of an athletic trainer. The district will pay $26,250 per year for a two-year contract.

•Approved the Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV operating budget for the 2013-14 school year. The district’s contribution is $21,337.

•Agreed to sponsor Camp Invention for children entering grades one through six. The camp will be June 24 to 28, offered at no cost to the district. Participating students will pay $125 to attend.

•Approved a family leave for Melissa Nugent from March 7 to May 31 and through Nov. 4.

•Hired Kathleen Smulick as a substitute bus monitor.

•Recognized swimmer Ian Buckner who placed second in the WPIAL 100-meter butterfly and fourth in the WPIAL 100-meter freestyle. Buckner represents Neshannock but competes with the West Allegheny swim team. He will compete in a state meet next week at Bucknell University.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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