North Hills has new teacher contract

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With their new contract, teachers in the North Hills School District will see an average raise of $2,787 per year, but will pay more for health insurance.

The school board and members of the North Hills Education Association approved the five-year agreement Jan. 22. The current contract expires Aug. 23.

“Our efforts represent a culture of collaboration, cooperation and mutual respect that I am proud to say we have developed in North Hills,” said superintendent Patrick J. Mannarino. “School districts across Pennsylvania are in the midst of difficult economic times, and North Hills is not immune to the ever -present financial challenges surrounding public education. However, with a spirit of compromise, we were able to strike a fair deal for our teachers, our district and our community.”

Salaries in the new contract will range from $45,127 for a new teacher with a bachelor’s degree to $99,126 for a veteran teacher with 60 credit hours beyond a master’s degree. There are 19 vertical salary steps in the contract for seniority, as well as eight horizontal steps for additional education.

In the new contract, teachers’ salaries will increase by an average of 3.7 percent annually. Teachers at the top of the salary scale — currently 99 or nearly one-third of North Hills’ teachers — will receive a raise of no less than 1 percent and no higher than 2 percent during each of the contract’s five years.

“We are grateful to have reached an agreement amicably and professionally,” said John Thomas, NHEA president. "This equitable and fair agreement serves the best interests of North Hills students and our community."

The teachers will also increase their contribution for medical insurance coverage each year of the contract. Currently, the teachers pay $155 a month for family coverage. Under the new deal, they will pay $165 for the first year, and an additional $10 a month each remaining year of the contract.

District officials contend that North Hills teachers will contribute the highest amount for their health insurance of any of the county’s 42 suburban school districts.

“We are pleased that our district and its teachers could work together to reach an agreement that is equitable for all parties involved,” said Ed Wielgus, school board president. “Balancing the needs of our taxpayers and desires of district employees can be a challenge, but I am proud that we were able to find a compromise that satisfies our employees and maintains the district's fiscally responsible ideals.”

Negotiators for the school district and the union have been meeting since mid-2013. The new contract expires in August 2019.

Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer:

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