Meadville Tribune

Local News

June 15, 2012

PENNCREST teacher-pact cutbacks will yield savings

SAEGERTOWN — With school board budgets in turmoil statewide, PENNCREST School District and its residents have received a helping hand from the district’s teachers.

On Thursday night, a one-year amendment to the district’s current teacher’s contract — already approved by members of PENNCREST Education Association — was unanimously approved by the school board, giving a go-ahead to concessions expected to save the district between $300,000 and $400,000 in the coming school year.

With a final vote on PENNCREST School District’s 2012-13 budget scheduled for a special June 26 meeting, the largest increase the district’s Crawford County taxpayers might possibly be looking at is 1.21 mills. Bringing the total millage to 49.8 mills, the maximum increase would increase the statistically-average school property tax bill on a residence with the median assessed value of $25,000 by $30.25 to a total of $1,245.

School board members and administrators agreed that amending the current contract, which expires at the end of the 2012-13 school year, is a major step in the direction of a balanced budget.

Union vice president Diane Rafle described the new agreement as “overwhelmingly supported” by the district’s teachers.

According to Superintendent Connie Youngblood, PAEA has already voted on the actual language of the agreement; the unanimous board approval granted Thursday night made the change official.

President Luigi DeFrancesco commended both the administration and the union for coming together on the agreement. “It is possible to talk to one another to solve problems — now and in the future,” he said.

Key elements of the new agreement include changes in health care management and tuition reimbursement.

Those participating in the district’s wellness program will continue to pay the current $30 per month health insurance premium, while those choosing to not participate in the wellness program will see their premium double to $60 per month.

With the exception of new teachers, who are required to earn post-bachelor’s degree credits, there will be no reimbursement for college credits earned during the 2012-13 school year. If an employee enrolls in a credit-granting program by July 15, however, the district will pay for summer courses.

In addition, teachers earning additional college credits during the 2012-13 school year will not advance to a higher salary level during that school year.

All changes will sunset one day before the expiration of the current agreement.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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