School board, teach­ers ac­cept con­tract

The new three-year con­tract ex­pires in Au­gust 2020

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

The Down­ing­town School Board and union lead­ers reached an agree­ment on a three-year con­tract.

EAST CALN >> The Down­ing­town Area School District board mem­bers and the Down­ing­town Area Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion on Thurs­day reached an early agree­ment on a new three-year con­tract.

The school board unan­i­mously ap­proved the agree­ment at a spe­cial board meet­ing on Thurs­day. The cur­rent con­tract ex­pires on Aug. 31, 2017.

“Ne­go­ti­at­ing this new con­tract with the union lead­er­ship was a very pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence,” said school board Pres­i­dent Colleen Cran­ney. “Our board mem­bers and union lead­ers worked to­gether as a team to reach this agree­ment. The new con­tract is both fair to our hard-work­ing staff and fis­cally re­spon­si­ble to our com­mu­nity.”

The board’s vote fol­lowed the 900-mem­ber union rat­i­fy­ing the ten­ta­tive agree­ment on Tues­day. The Down­ing­town Area Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (DAEA) rep­re­sents the district’s teach­ers, guid­ance coun­selors, li­brar­i­ans and nurses. DAEA is af­fil­i­ated with the Penn­syl­va­nia State Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (PSEA).

“We were able to work col­lec­tively to im­prove our con­tract in ways that con­tinue to main­tain and en­hance stan­dards that at­tract the best and bright­est ed­u­ca­tors to our district,” said DAEA Pres­i­dent Craig D. Krusen. “This sus­tains the legacy that our cur­rent and past ed­u­ca­tors have es­tab­lished. Our team is very pleased to have been able to work co­op­er­a­tively with the board to reach a col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment that cre­ates a stronger school district that ben­e­fits our en­tire com­mu­nity.”

Teach­ers will get an av­er­age an­nual pay in­crease of 2.64 per­cent un­der the con­tract run­ning from Sept. 1, 2017 through Aug. 31, 2020. Teach­ers will pay more to­ward health care pre­mi­ums, pay­ing 11 per­cent to­ward health care for the length of the con­tract, ac­cord­ing to the school district. Un­der the cur­rent two-year con­tract, teach­ers re­ceived a salary in­crease of 2.9 per­cent and had slightly in­creased em­ployee con­tri­bu­tions to­ward health care.

Down­ing­town schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Lawrence Mus­so­line said the district’s most valu­able as­set is the peo­ple be­cause of their ded­i­ca­tion.

“Both sides share the same deep com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing our chil­dren with the best ed­u­ca­tion pos­si­ble,” Mus­so­line said. “Com­ing to an early, suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion is some­thing ev­ery­one in our district should ap­plaud.”

Visit Daily Lo­cal News staff writer Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar’s blog about jour­nal­ism and vol­un­teer­ing as a fire­fighter at Fire­fight­erGinger.blogspot.com.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

From left: Down­ing­town Area School District school board Vice Pres­i­dent Carl Croft, Down­ing­town Area Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (DAEA) Pres­i­dent Craig Krusen, DAEA El­e­men­tary Vice Pres­i­dent Lau­ren Bold, school board Pres­i­dent Colleen Cran­ney, and DAEA sec­ondary Vice Pres­i­dent Gary Git­tis pose to­gether af­ter the two groups reached an early agree­ment on a new three-year con­tract.

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