Redbank Teacher’s Union Scoffs at Salary Proposal

51316-rbv-schoolNEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT) — The rocky road to a new contract for teachers and paraprofessional staff members in the Redbank Valley School District continues, and no one is sure when it will be resolved.

It’s been nearly two years since the last contract expired as staff members have worked under the old agreement.

The Redbank Valley Education Association (RVEA) recently released the following statement:

“The Redbank Valley Education Association believes that the Board’s proposed contract is not an accurate reflection of our residents’, taxpayers’ and parents’ values. Many citizens and parents have proven this by publicly supporting the teachers and support staff at recent school board meetings.”

“Our Board has made a salary offer that is well below the current average for the neighboring schools in Clarion County based on recent settlements. As of June 30, the teachers and support staff have been working under an expired contract for two years.”

“I guarantee, we, as an association, are only asking for what is a fair contract based on other neighboring districts. As we continue to pursue actions and continue to negotiate to make our case before the school board, we will, of course, maintain our focus on the education and welfare of our students – your children and ours of Redbank Valley.”

According to a listing published on June 8, 2015, in the Allentown Morning Call, Redbank Valley’s average teacher salary at the secondary level was $55,757.00 while at the elementary level was $59,486.00.

At Union, the Morning Call listing showed an average secondary teacher salary at $63,625.00 and an average of $56,350.00 at the elementary level.

According to Wikipedia, in 2013, Clarion Area School District’s average teacher salary was $61,361.00 while at Clarion-Limestone, the average salary in 2011 was reported as $51,767.00.

Tom Logan, president of the RVEA as well as Dean of Students and Athletic Director at the high school, was hopeful of a successful conclusion soon, but not sure of when it may happen.

“It’s hard to say how close we are to resolving it. The proposals are going back and forth. We met on May 10, and another session is set for May 24,” Logan said.

According to previously published reports, Dr. Chad Shaffer, Redbank Valley School Board president said that the board is committed to an agreement that keeps district employees well compensated while keeping the district in a position to pay its debts.

Shaffer added the board understands the quality of the district employees and their importance to the success of the students.

Unfortunately for the school district, its students and employees, Redbank Valley is no stranger to prolonged contract negotiations as the district’s tax base shrinks with little job creation and many jobs lost over the years with businesses closing.

In 2005, the teachers and school district were in a similar impasse as a contract had expired in 2003. In November 2004, teachers were on strike for 20 days. In 2005, the contract dispute went to arbitration.

The school district has had to close three schools in the last 30 years. Porter and Madison Township Elementary schools were closed in 1986, while Mahoning Township Elementary closed in 2011. The district has watched its total enrollment decline by nearly 1,500 over the last several decades.

Currently, three schools remain open in the district: the primary school on Vine Street for students in grades K through 2; the intermediate school in Hawthorn for students in grades 3 through 6; and the junior/senior high school on Broad Street for kids in grades 7 through 12.

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