Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Neshaminy, teachers to resume contract talks

Facing fourth school year without a contract, both sides are scheduled to continue Thursday's talks with a state mediator.

Neshaminy, teachers to resume contract talks

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NFT members show support for their negotiators before Thursday's talks at the Maple Point Middle School. (Bill Reed)

  The Neshaminy Federation of Teachers called Thursday's negotiations "an open and frank review of many economic issues separating us." The school board called them "positive" but not a breakthrough.

   Tonight at 6, negotiators for both sides are scheduled to meet for the 33rd time since January 2008 to work out a new contract. The impasse is the longest in the state in eight years, when the Somerset Area School District resolved a five-year stalemate, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association says.

  At Thursday's session, state mediator John Cairns talked to each side separately. He indicated the NFT wanted to be placed on the salary steps they would receive in their most recent proposal, according to a district statement. The NFT put the cost of that proposal at $1.2 million for this school year, while the school board estimated it at more than $4.8 million, according to the statement.

Other stumbling blocks include pay raises, retroactive pay and contributions for health-care coverage. Last week, the union instituted a "work-to contract" job action and said a strike is an option.

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About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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