Teachers' Union Votes to Accept Fact-Finder's Report
It was more than two years in the making when the State College Area Education Association and the State College Area School Board of Directors have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement with the union's vote to accept the fact-finder's recommendations.
Holli Jo Warner, SCAEA president, said the vote means contract negotiations are over and the vote to accept the fact-finder's report from both SCAEA and the board – who voted on Monday – sets the basis for a new contract for the more than 630 teachers in the State College Area School District.
Fact-finder Alex Kaschock was appointed in October to help settle the differences and explore proposals from both sides of the negotiations
Warner said as required by law, new contract negotiations will begin by June 30, 2015.
Right now, she said, there's a sense of satisfaction among union members, in a sense that "they can make plans for the next couple of years and move on, move ahead."
"Lots of things changed – the biggest change that was made [was in] health care.
"Throughout the bargaining process, we were very cognizant of the current economic climate, and we believe that this contract provides a modest increase for our members, without placing undue hardships upon the district," Warner said.
According to a SCAEA press release, the new contract, which includes a wage freeze in 2011-12, provides for an average 2.1 percent salary increase during the next four years.
Changes in health care plans and benefits will save the district $630,000 annually, per the release. Teachers will now have a choice of two health care plans that both include benefit health care cost increases for all employees.
The new contract also includes a provisio that will exclude spouses, domestic partners or other dependents who are eligible for health care through Penn State, Mount Nittany Medical Center, county government or other school districts from participating in the SCASD plan, according to the press release.