Sponsored Content: Notice to Redbank Valley Residents

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Redbank Valley Education Association and Redbank Valley School District have been trying to negotiate a contract since January 2014.

The School Board feels the community is entitled to know why we have not been able to reach an agreement, and importantly, what the Board has done to try to accomplish that.

Before detailing the Board’s most recent proposals, we believe it is important for the community to have a full understanding of the current compensation and benefit package enjoyed by the District’s teachers. The average package costs the school district $84,270.46 per teacher, per year, with many packages approaching $100,000. The average teacher’s package consists of the following:

  • Average Salary: $54,181.00
  • Average Family Health Insurance Cost: $19,114.56
  • Average Dental/Vision/Life Insurance Cost: $1,368.60
  • Average Pension Contribution: $7,000.19
  • Average of other costs (Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Worker’s Compensation): $2,606.11
  • Average Total Package: $84,270.46

One of the main issues of contention with the current contract is the employees’ contributions toward rising health care costs. Currently, the District spends over $19,000 per teacher, per year for family coverage, while the teachers only contribute $5 per pay for individual coverage and $10 per pay for family coverage. Additionally, the teachers’ total deductible payments are maxed out at $200 for an individual and $400 for an entire family, per year. In other words, the District pays 98% or more of the total cost of health insurance, leaving the teacher’s share at 2% or less.

The Board is fully aware that it cannot balance the budget with this contract, nor does it have any desire to do so. Instead, the Board is proposing that the employees merely share in the burden that has been felt by the community and the parents. Balancing the need to reduce the District’s expenses with the desire to provide fair compensation and benefits, has led to the Board’s most recent proposals, which include:

  • Pay increase for all employees in the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.
  • A health insurance plan that increases the employees’ contributions to rising health care costs, while remaining affordable to both the District and its employees.

The Board has had to make difficult decision, including raising taxes to the maximum level allowed by law and cutting programs. The District’s financial constraints have been felt by the community, the parents and the students. We are now asking that the employees of the District share in this burden by accepting a smaller raise, and agreeing to contribute more toward their health insurance costs.

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