Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Neshaminy teachers end strike; classes to resume Wednesday

Offer to return to work Tuesday, three days before state deadline.

Neshaminy teachers end strike; classes to resume Wednesday

The Neshaminy Federation of Teachers called off its six-day strike today "as an act of good faith," a union spokesman said.

The move came as representatives of the union and the school district participated in a hearing before Bucks County Court Judge Robert O. Baldi.

The union offered to return to work Tuesday, but the district's lawyer said classes could not resume until Wednesday, the NFT spokesman said.

School borad member Mike Morris said students could no return until Wednesday because food supplies need to be brought in.

"We were anticipating being out until Friday,"Morris said. "It's not that we don't want to reopen the schools sooner, but we need food for the Free Lunch programs."

Union President Louise Boyd said n a written statement: "They could have easily done a ‘Global Connect”’ message to parents throughout the district letting them know classes would resume tomorrow but they didn’t feel the need to do so.  All it does is unnecessarily prolong the school year by another day and that’s unfortunate.”

The hearing was the result of a request by the state Department of Education for an injunction to get the teachers back to school to complete the  school year by June 29.

The state had given the union a June 15 deadline to return to work so students could complete the 180-day school year by the end of the month. But the state also requested that the teachers return earlier than the deadline. 

During the strike, as in the union's eight-day strike in January, all classes were canceled in the 13 schools, affecting 7,000 students.

The 633-member union of teachers, guidance counselors, librarians and nurses have been working without a raise for nearly four years, under an expired contract that the school board says it canot afford.

By ending the strike, the union expected to return to the negotiating table Tuesday, Boyd said. But the session will be canceled, Morris said, because the teachers are considered on strike until Wednesday. The board has refusesd to negotiate during a strike.

Both sides are scheduled for another hearing before Baldi on June 25, for the judge to consider ordering court-supervised negotiations.

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.

BucksInq  
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected