BP ratifies contract with teachers

Published Oct 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm (Updated Oct 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm)

Bethel Park School District officials said they are ready to move forward after ratifying a collective bargaining agreement with the union that represents its teachers.

“I personally am delighted to have a fresh start,” said Superintendent Nancy Aloi Rose.

Board members Oct. 28 unanimously approved a six-year contract with the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers.

The school district and the teacher’s union have been negotiating since 2010 over a new agreement. Both sides have endured a six-week strike in 2010, non-binding arbitration in 2011, and another fact-finder report at the union’s request in 2012. All attempts failed to bring the two sides together, particularly on the issues of salaries and health benefits, until the final fact-finding report, which both sides accepted earlier this month.

The contract, which will run from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2016, is the result of both parties accepting that Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board fact-finding report.

The official contract will be signed by both district and union officials at some point in the future.

A copy of the contract is expected to be posted on the district website by Thursday.

No union members attended Monday’s meeting, and the union did not respond to requests for comment on the contract.

Teachers have been working under the terms of the agreement that expired June 30, 2010.

The new contract includes no raise for the 2010-2011 school year. That wage freeze does not include 17 teachers who reached step 17 of the salary scale during that time. It also includes a $1,100 increase for 2011-2012, a $900 increase for 2012-2013, a $1,000 for 2013-2014 and a $1,200 increase for both the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.

The starting salary for a first year teacher with a bachelor’s degree will go from $45,700 in the first year of the contract to $48,400 in the final year. Those with a master’s degree at the top of the salary scale will move from $92,548 over the life of the contract to the top step salary of $97,948.

Beginning in January 2014 teachers on the steps 1-16 of the salary scale will contribute 7.5 percent toward their health care costs. Beginning July 1, 2014 that contribution will increase to 8.5 percent and on July 1 2015 it increases to 10 percent. Teachers on steps 17 and 18 of the salary scale will contribute 9.5 percent beginning January 2014 with that increasing to 10.5 percent on July 1, 2014 and 12 percent on July 1, 2015.

The contract also includes an additional step to extend the time it takes for a teacher to reach the top of the salary scale from 17 to 18 years.

“I’m happy the process is over and happy for the students and the community,” said Cynthia Buckley, a member of the board. “I’m sad it took far long too reach this point.”

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