Coatesville teach­ers march on picket line

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

“We don’t have that ad­di­tional time to sup­port the stu­dents. We’re try­ing to meet the needs of the stu­dents and to make classes rig­or­ous.”

— CATA Pres­i­dent Au­dra Rit­ter

CALN » Coatesville Area Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion protested Thurs­day out­side of the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing, claim­ing the school board can­celled two con­sec­u­tive bar­gain­ing dis­cus­sions while teach­ers work un­der an ex­pired con­tract.

Coatesville Area Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (CATA) mem­bers be­gan the 2017-18 school year still work­ing un­der a con­tract that ex­pired Aug. 31, 2016. Ne­go­ti­a­tions are on­go­ing, but the school board can­celled the ses­sion on Thurs­day be­cause not all ne­go­ti­at­ing mem­bers could at­tend.

CATA Pres­i­dent Au­dra Rit­ter and the Coatesville Area School board mem­bers agreed that the main is­sue is the work day por­tion of the deal and she said that the district wants to “elim­i­nate much needed plan­ning time.”

Rit­ter ex­plained that the teach­ers have a 45-minute pe­riod dur­ing the school day to make tests, check and send emails, call par­ents, col­lab­o­rate with other team teach­ers and give stu­dents a make-up test they be­cause they were ab­sent from school, for ex­am­ple. But, she said “it isn’t enough time.” She said it also takes away time ded­i­cated to fur­ther help­ing stu­dents.

“We don’t have that ad­di­tional time to sup­port the stu­dents,” Rit­ter said about the work­day is­sue. “We’re try­ing to meet the needs of the stu­dents and to make classes rig­or­ous.”

She said the work day is nec­es­sary for teach­ers to have that time to pre­pare for the school day. She said ad­di­tion­ally that sub­bing, while it’s a state-wide is­sue, can also in­ter­fere with their time to pre­pare for their classes when they are asked to fill in for an ab­sent teacher.

“Our num­ber one fo­cus is the kids,” Rit­ter said. “We want our kids to do well.”

The 484 teach­ers in the union, along with nurses, guid­ance coun­selors and other sup­port staff were among those who walked from the Kmart park­ing lot on Lin­coln High­way to­ward the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing at 303 C. G. Zinn Av­enue in Caln Town­ship, and back around that block. They wore their union colors and held signs that read “CATA: year two, no con­tract” and asked “why is it tak­ing so long to ne­go­ti­ate a new con­tract?”

“We want the school board to see how many of us there are,” Rit­ter said. “It’s not just four or five of us that are up­set.”

They stopped twice out­side the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing and chanted “con­tract, now.” The school board bar­gain­ing team has can­celled two con­sec­u­tive bar­gain­ing ses­sions, which were sched­uled for last month and on Thurs­day.

“The school board has con­sis­tently said they are ea­ger to set­tle a con­tract, yet re­peat­edly can­celed ses­sions to do just that,” CATA said in a state­ment.

School board pres­i­dent Dean Sny­der said they are look­ing for­ward to the next ses­sion sched­uled Oct. 23 He said the two meet­ings were can­celled when they learned that not all ne­go­ti­at­ing mem­bers could at­tend.

“As CATA’s union lead­er­ship knows very well, the Sept. 18 ses­sion was can­celled be­cause our chief ne­go­tia­tor’s mother-in-law passed away and that ses­sion date con­flicted with her funeral,” Rit­ter said. “The sec­ond ses­sion, sched­uled a month ago for this evening, Oc­to­ber 12, was un­for­tu­nately can­celled when two mem­bers of our ne­go­ti­at­ing team, one of whom is my­self, learned they had to be out of town. We re­spect CATA’s time and felt that meet­ing with­out our com­plete team in place would not pro­duc­tive.”

It’s the sec­ond re­cent protest by the teach­ers union. The mem­bers at­tended the school board meet­ing in late Septem­ber to say they want to reach a fair and com­pet­i­tive con­tract.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the “Ne­go­ti­a­tion Up­date” sec­tion of the district web­site at https://www.cas­d­schools.org/do­main/716

GINGER RAE DUNBAR – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Coatesville Area Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (CATA) walk the picket line out­side the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing Thurs­day to de­mand a new con­tract.

GINGER RAE DUNBAR – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Coatesville Area Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (CATA) mem­bers protest out­side the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing and sur­round­ing area in Caln Town­ship on Thurs­day to de­mand a new con­tract.

GINGER RAE DUNBAR – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Coatesville Area Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (CATA) mem­bers protest out­side the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing on Thurs­day to de­mand a new con­tract. It’s the sec­ond year un­der an ex­pired con­tract. A child is pic­tured with his mother and a sign that reads: “my mom needs a new con­tract.”

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