Several districts still in contract negotiations as new school year approaches

August 16, 2014

Several school districts in Washington and Greene counties will begin the 2014-2015 school year with teacher and support staff contracts still unresolved.

According to the Pennsylvania State Education Association, six districts in Washington County and one in Greene County have yet to resolve negotiations with their teacher or support staff unions.

Fritz Fekete, communication and organizing program consultant for the PSEA southwestern region, said Ringgold School District (teachers), Avella Area School District (teachers), Fort Cherry School District (teachers), California Area School District (teachers), Bethlehem-Center School District (teachers and support staff) and Charleroi Area School District (teachers and support staff) have open negotiations. But the union noted that Ringgold and Avella have reached tentative agreements with their teachers.

In Greene County, Southeastern Greene School District has reached a tentative deal with its teachers.

Fekete said each negotiation was “different,” but he said there is a “general funding crisis” across the state.

“There are more open contracts this year than in the past,” Fekete said.

Budget cuts, he said, also are playing a role.

“There’s just a downward spiral because of the cuts,” Fekete said.

The cuts include teaching staff, the arts and other areas that don’t come into play when achievement or competency tests are conducted.

“There is this focus on the Common Core,” Fekete said. “But a good education encompasses all subjects.”

Francesca Sacco joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in November 2013, and covers the Washington County Courthouse and education. Prior to working with the Observer-Reporter, Francesca was a staff writer with a Gannett paper in Ohio. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor’s degree in print and broadcast journalism.

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