Palmerton settles teacher pact; contract has 3.15 percent hike in each year for 4 years
Twenty months after the last contract expired, Palmerton Area School District and its teachers’ union struck a new deal Tuesday night.
After Palmerton’s teachers approved the contract earlier in the day, the board passed a 8-0 motion during a special meeting.
Director Charles Gildner was absent and did not vote.
The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2016, and runs through June 30, 2020.
According to a summary provided by the district, the contract is set to increase 3.15 percent for each of the four years and includes a 17-step matrix.
“On behalf of the teachers, I’d like to thank the board and especially Tammy Recker, Josh Smale, Barry Scherer and Earl Paules,” said Palmerton Area Education Association President Tom Smelas.
“The meetings we had with them were respectful, courteous and professional and that is why we were able to come to this agreement.”
Health care deductibles are set at $200/$400 with premium shares at $36 for a single payer and $64 for a family per biweekly pay in the final year of the deal.
Deductibles remain the same as the last contract. The premiums were $30.50 for a single payer and $52 for a family in 16-17 and 17-18.
The two sides had been negotiating since the last offer the district made public in October, which called for a 3 percent increase each year, a 17-step matrix and the same health care deductibles.
“We spent a lot of hours negotiating and hashed a lot out,” Scherer, board president, said after the vote.
“There was a lot of give and take and our team is appreciative of all the efforts of everyone involved.”
Palmerton teachers went on strike for two years in January 2017 and the two sides went to nonbinding arbitration later that year.
Smelas said he is hopeful everyone can move forward with the matter now settled.
“It’s been a long couple of years,” he said. “I know both sides are relieved. I want to thank the board for pushing this process. These have been great talks recently.”
Palmerton hired two part-time acting high school principals Tuesday night as it shuffles administrative duties with high school principal Paula Husar on unpaid suspension pending an ongoing termination hearing in front of the board.
Gloria Bowman and John Gilly were both hired on a part-time basis at $450 per day. They will combine to serve in the role for the rest of the 2017-18 school year.
After Husar went out in September, the district moved junior high school principal Rich DeSocio to the high school in an acting principal role. He will receive a $10,000 stipend for that role, which he will have served from Sept. 8, 2017, through March 12, 2018.
Meanwhile, Kevin Carroll will receive a $3,000 stipend for having served as acting junior high school principal in charge of students for the same period.