Panther Valley School District continues to trudge toward a new teachers' contract. So far, the journey has taken 16 months, with teachers continuing to work under the terms of the previous contract, which ended in June 2011

Panther Valley Education Association representative Terrence Bonner spoke with the school board at a public meeting Thursday, asking it to agree to set dates this month for further negotiations.

"We believe the contract talks have been moving in a very positive direction for the past 16 months," he said. "We would like to meet, either formally or informally, before the new year to maintain this momentum and reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the community, the district, its educators, and most importantly, its students."

PVEA had sent board members a list of proposed dates for the negotiations. There was no discussion on the dates or Bonner's remarks.

In August the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board released a fact-finder's report on the talks. The school board accepted the report, but PVEA rejected it.

According to that report, teachers wanted a four-year contract, but the school district wants a three-year pact.

The report recommended that "salaries for 2011-2012 remain unchanged (no step no column increases); salaries for 2012-2013 increase only as a function of step and column movement and with an off-schedule payment for bargaining unit members at the maximum step of 2 percent of that step; and each cell of the salary schedule be increased by 2 percent for each of School Years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, with step and column movement but with no off-schedule payment for bargaining unit members at the maximum step."

The fact-finder's report also spelled out health and retirement health benefits proposals, and cyber-school parameters.

The report, which includes proposals from both sides, can be accessed at www.dli.state.pa.us/plrb. Scroll down to "Fact Finding Reports" on the left.