Pennsylvania releases reports on teacher contract disputes in Mars, East Allegheny

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The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board today released non-binding fact-finder reports on the contract disputes in the East Allegheny and Mars Area school districts.

In East Allegheny where the current contract expires this month, fact-finder Robert C. Gifford recommended a three-year contract that freezes salaries and steps for one year and provides an increase of 0.5 percent to the salary schedule plus step advancement in each of the two remaining years.

This would freeze the career rate for a teacher with a master's degree at the top step of 16 years at this year's annual salary of $93,807 in the first year of the contract. By the end of the contract, it would reach $94,747.

Starting pay with a bachelor's degree would be frozen at $47,419 for the first year. It would increase to $47,895 by the end of the contract.

The fact-finder also recommended increase insurance payments from $70 per month to $100 per month by the end of the contract and providing an early retirement incentive in 2013-14.

In Mars Area, fact-finder Marc A. Winters recommended a two-year agreement in which teachers would move up one step on the salary schedule in each year.

Those at the top of the schedule would receive an off-scale salary increase of $1,000 each year. The current career rate -- for a teacher with a master's degree and the top step of 18 years -- is $72,712.

Starting pay with a bachelor's degree would remain at $38,532 each year, but teachers moving from step 1 to step 2 would get an increase, bringing their pay to $39,386. Other teachers moving through the steps also would receive increases.

The Mars Area report also addresses insurance deductibles and copays and increases life insurance from $30,000 to $50,000.

The East Allegheny report was rejected by the school board but accepted by the teachers' union. The Mars Area report was rejected by the teachers' union but accepted by the school board.

State law requires both sides in each district to let the board know again whether they accept the finding not less than five days or more than 10 days after the publication of the recommendations.

There are 128 professional employees in the East Allegheny Education Association and 204 in the Mars Area teacher union. Both teacher contracts expire at the end of this month.

education - breaking - region

Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955. First Published June 1, 2012 1:15 PM


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