Interim contract deal averts teachers’ strike in New Kensington-Arnold


New Kensington-Arnold School District teachers will receive an average 3.5% pay increase each year of a proposed five-year contract, according to a joint statement released Sunday by the school district and its teachers’ union. .

The district and the New Kensington-Arnold Education Association reached a tentative agreement on a new working agreement on Friday evening. He avoided a work stoppage, the association announced on Thursday that its 151 members, made up of teachers and other professional staff, would start on Monday.

The members of the association will vote on Wednesday on the ratification of the agreement. The school board has not decided on a voting plan, according to Superintendent Chris Sefcheck.

The association gave strike notice to the district after talks on Wednesday failed to resolve the only remaining issue over how much teachers would have to pay for health care. Its members voted in March to authorize a strike.

According to the joint declaration, the contribution to the health insurance premium of the members of the association will increase by an average of 11.8% per year during the term of the contract.

According to the district, that’s up from the roughly 8% the teachers were paying under their previous contract, which expired Aug. 31.

The proposed contract would be retroactive to September 1 and run through August 31, 2026. It is pending approval by the association and the school district.

When the association would vote was not immediately known. School board vice president Terry Schrock, the district’s spokesperson and chief negotiator, said the school board could not vote on the contract until its May 3 meeting.

Schrock said the 11th hour deal “was made when each side took steps toward the other, averting a school closure.

“Together, we now look to the future to begin the difficult and meaningful work of moving the district forward toward its academic and fiscal goals,” he said. “We will continue to work together to meet the needs of all students and will continue to emphasize financial responsibility through a collaborative effort.

Association president Ashley Pujol said he was happy to have reached a five-year deal that provides stability for its members.

“Our students are most important, and our team has kept that as our goal,” she said. “During last year’s negotiation process, the NKAEA is proud to say that we upheld the values ​​of our New Kensington-Arnold community, while pursuing a fair and equitable contract.”

The district had not canceled classes for Monday due to the threat of a strike. With the tentative agreement reached and the association calling off the strike, Sefcheck said the district would start the week as normal.

“The two parties met at a mutually beneficial time that recognizes the value of our teachers, while maintaining a fiscally responsible position for our taxpayers,” Sefcheck said in a statement. “I commend both parties for taking the time to iron out the details, ensuring that our students and staff continue their education without disruption.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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