Negotiations Update: September 17, 2018
I would like to provide an update on contract negotiations with our teachers’ union, the Great Valley Education Association. Negotiations began in January, continued through the spring, and both the School Board and Union participated in the Fact Finding Hearing last Friday, September 14th.
The Fact Finder will issue a report by October 1st. The report is not binding. Both sides are required to vote to accept or reject it within 10 days of receipt of the report. The Board will hold a special voting meeting on Monday, October 8th to discuss and act on the report.
Our teachers’ current contract expired on June 30 of 2018. They are still operating under that contract. This is typically called “Status Quo.”
The School Board very much values our teachers. We compensate them very well, and we are very grateful for their hard work, expertise, dedication, and passion. They are the highest paid in Chester County, and their health care package is extremely generous – platinum level – the highest available. At the same time, we must balance their compensation package with the other needs of the District.
Our District continues to face uncontrollable costs. Our healthcare costs have skyrocketed 46% over the last three years. Like every district in the state, we’ve seen massive increases in our mandated contributions to the state educators’ retirement system (PSERS), significant increases in special education costs, and numerous other under-funded mandates that are simply out of our control.
It is our goal to come to an agreement that continues to compensate our teachers very well – to attract and retain new, quality teachers. We must also balance our other needs. And, we must be fair to our taxpayers.
Again, we are optimistic that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached. Both sides will continue to work hard to make this happen.