In a repeat performance of the August 2010 contract extension that kept teachers on the job through the following school year, the Chartiers Valley Federation of Teachers and the Chartiers Valley school board agreed Feb. 26 to approve another extension that will keep classrooms open into 2017.
"Both sides are very happy," said superintendent Brian White, noting the latest agreement would not raise taxes and would save taxpayers some money.
Negotiations were ongoing during last week's school board meeting, which is why the item was not on the agenda until word was received that the teachers had approved the deal, he said. The superintendent was notified of the teachers' approval during the board session.
"That's why it was a surprise," Mr. White said, adding that 80 percent of the 261-member union showed up to vote.
Highlights of the latest collective bargaining agreement extension include average salary increases of 2.05 percent in each of the next three school years. The total cost increase, however, may be almost 6 percent if no one retires.
Officials said, however, that some retirement notices already have been received, although they do not know how many more will be submitted by the end of the school year.
Other changes include an increase in the work day from 7 1/2 hours to 8 hours starting in 2014-15 with the number of days reduced from 193 to 190. The longer work day is to provide more time for collaboration, planning, coordination and learning initiatives as well as the establishment of a curriculum leader program.
According to a district news release, the curriculum leader program will be modeled after a similar one in Upper St. Clair "in which instructional leaders work an extended year to expand their capacity beyond the typical duties of a classroom teacher."
The contract also provides for the establishment of instructional practitioners "to provide academic support in the classroom and engage in instructional activities under the leadership of a master teacher." Instructional practitioners also will help the district identify prospective outstanding teachers.
No increases in medical expenses are in the contact.
The Chartiers Valley School District, which was formed in 1956 to include Bridgeville, Collier, Heidelberg and Scott, has about 3,500 students and 260 teachers.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.