WCASD, Teachers Union Go To Fact Finder

The West Chester Area School District and the WCASD Teacher's Union have agreed to seek a third party fact finder to try to reach a new contract. (Photo: Bob Byrne)
The West Chester Area School District and the WCASD Teacher's Union have agreed to seek a third party fact finder to try to reach a new contract. (Photo: Bob Byrne)
WCASD Board of School Directors and the District's Teachers Union have agreed to have a third party try to resolve a three-year contract negotiation impasse.

The School District released a statement Monday explaining the move.  The development means that no contract settlement will be reached until at least the beginning of the school year in the fall. The third party fact finder will take a look at both the school board and the union's positions and then write a contract proposal. If both sides agree to the fact finder's proposal the contract will be settled. If one or the other side rejects the fact finder's proposal the contract talks go back to the negotiating table.

While the West Chester Area Education Association has been publicly silent on the new development the School District Board issued a press release Wednesday that the School Board President uses to take a swipe at the teacher's union.

“The Association’s rejection of the proposal to pilot Professional Learning Communities within our schools is extremely disappointing, and will certainly have a negative impact on student instruction” said School Board President Vince Murphy in a statement released by the school district.

According to the WCASD, the program Murphy refers to would add new duties to teachers' responsibilities by adding an in-school program that would see teachers meet  to discuss instructional strategies for students, and provide students with additional remediation and enrichment instructional time during the school day.

On June 4 the teachers' union issued a statement that says: "The school board has shown no desire to settle a reasonable contract.  Board members have not attended any negotiating sessions that first began in December 2011, nearly 18 months ago.  WCAEA members are asking for nothing more than a fair contract comparable to other area school districts."

“Our members want to settle a fair contract and get back to giving 110% of our time and effort to our students as we always do,” said Deborah Fell, President of WCAEA.  “The school board has done nothing but stand in the way of our progress. 

Neither side generally speaks to the press about the negotaitions except through press releases and their websites.  As of early Thursday morning the Teachers' union had not issued any statements on the decision to send the contract talks to a fact finder.

This is a developing story. Patch will update this story as new details become available.

Here is the full text of a press release issued by the WCASD Wednesday morning:

(West Goshen, PA) June 18, 2013 – In a bid to make progress in teacher contract negotiations, the School Board of the West Chester Area School District announced it has agreed to a request from the teachers union to jointly file for Fact Finding with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. Both the School Board and the Association recognize that the conventional negotiation process has resulted in the current impasse.

The School Board’s acceptance of the Association’s request comes in spite of the fact that the union has rejected the Board’s latest three-year contract offer, and also declared an unwillingness to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pilot the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process in three schools during the upcoming school year. The Association’s decisions were made known in a June 11th e-mail message to the Board’s lead negotiator, Jeffrey Sultanik.

“The Association’s rejection of the proposal to pilot Professional Learning Communities within our schools is extremely disappointing, and will certainly have a negative impact on student instruction” said School Board President Vince Murphy.

The PLC process has been an educational initiative jointly developed by teachers and administrators for the past two years. It provides an opportunity for teachers to meet during the school day to discuss instructional strategies for students, and provides students with additional remediation and enrichment instructional time during the school day.

An MOU would be needed to implement this process while the contract is being negotiated. This newly created instructional time is not currently in the schedule and could violate the “status quo” situation the District is in, due to not having a successor teacher’s contract. The Board remains concerned that the Association has put their own contract negotiation interests ahead of what is certainly in the best interest of students in the district, namely the educational innovation of PLCs.

In the June 11th communication, the Association also invited the Board to enter jointly into the Fact Finding process. Fact Finding is a non-binding dispute resolution mechanism permitted by Act 88 of 1992 under which opposing parties submit their disputed offers to a third-party reviewer. The reviewer then issues a written report outlining a recommended settlement that both parties are required to approve or reject within 10 calendar days of its issuance.

According to Sultanik, “Given our apparent impasse at the bargaining table, this appears to be our only viable solution in attempting to narrow the dispute between the parties.”

The request to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board for Fact finding would take place on July 24, 2013. The Fact Finder’s Recommendation would then be forthcoming right at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Once a report is issued, both sides will have 10 days to accept or reject the Fact Finder’s report in its entirety. If both the Board and Association approve the report, the parties will have a contract.

The Board wants to keep the negotiations process moving in order to reach an agreement that supports students, is fair to teachers and is fiscally responsible to the community.

Related Stories:

WCASD and Union Prepare for Talks

Cathy Binder June 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Read the WCAEA website, stop the name calling, and the stupid assumptions you love to make..
Country1st June 20, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Again- I have no time for someone with such strong opinions yet is too much of a coward to use their name -- You're irrelevant ST -- you're just a thug. My comment stands. This is not about PLCs even if that's how the Board wants to position it.
Star Thrower June 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM
McDonald - looks like you have enough time to begin the name calling when the truth is revealed. I didn't see you call Rosemary Decker (Binder) or edufan cowards for using made up names Are you also denying that you feed on taxpayers?
Star Thrower June 20, 2013 at 03:08 PM
McDonald .. you need to get with edufan and enter into the MOU with me to deal with this TIDS epidemic you teachers have suddenly contracted. Rosemary Decker (aka BINDER) - it's only hard for you to understand here because you need a cover story - you know perfectly well that it doesn't matter at all whether or or nor the union agrees with fact finding .. they have to go through it, like it or not as you love to spout - and what Fell said was "NOT AT THIS TIME" you must have missed that Rosemary - Fell is your typical lazy unionist who does not want any negotiating unless she can use it to avoid teaching .. so summertime is out
Cathy Binder June 20, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Oh stop your nonsense. If you knew anything at all you would remember the last time the district went to fact finding the teachers made out quite well ST. In fact that is what the basis of the contract was after the strike, the very report Sultanic and board refused to accept before the strike. You can continue to think you know who I am, but who cares. Look for me at the board meeting on Monday - oh yeah, you won't be there, you never are.
Star Thrower June 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM
The fact that the union accepted the original contract proposal submitted by Sultanic is proof enough of a union conspiracy to inflate the negotiation fees for the district ... and thank you for the open invitation to seek you out - that's all I needed to hear.
Cathy Binder June 21, 2013 at 05:04 AM
Do you know what fact finding is? The proposal was submitted by an independent board, the district rejected the proposal at the recommendation of Sultanic. The strike happened. Sultanic was busy with another strike. The board finally met with the teachers without Sultanic and they agreed to accept the Fact Finders report. Strike over. Could have all been avoided. Learn your history before your spout. And I hope there is not some type of veiled threat in your comment about seeking me out. Forgive me, but that is how I took it.
Roger M June 21, 2013 at 12:05 PM
i'm sorry, but calling someone "overweight" when it has no bearing on the discussion IS inflammatory name calling and really displays an adolescent type of ignorance... i would encourage everyone to flag such posts as inappropriate... (i see the original post WAS removed, but the pathetic rebuttal remains...) while i'm definitely of the opinion that starthrower doesn't merit any kind of attention at all, this kind of thing really is beyond obnoxious... perhaps there should be a mental age limit here...
Roger M June 21, 2013 at 02:35 PM
so, just to be sure i'm getting this right, you consider teachers to be the largest child abuse group in the country?? if that's really your attitude, you should just leave the country -- we like to educate people here in America, and i that's not possible without teachers... if education is not important to you (which it quite obviously isn't), then you shouldn't have to pay taxes toward it -- unfortunately that will mean emigration on your part... of course it may not be easy to find a country that believes education is a bad thing, but who knows... i certainly hope you find that country soon (and move there)... seriously, i need to stop reading your drivel and get on with doing something positive... the only diet i need is one where i don't read any more of your blithering nonsense...
Country1st June 21, 2013 at 04:57 PM
This article is about WCASD getting a Fact Finder because the Board and the union are at an impasse. WCASD is a solid school district with fine teachers and administrators who are committed to providing a wonderful learning experience for all students. Can we do a better job? Sure. But these kind of rants by ST are corrosive on all levels. No one is stopping you from home schooling your kids -- although I doubt that you have children. I would like to know if you're a school board member or involved/related to a school board member because taxpayers have a right to know
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 07:58 AM
McDonald - how corrosive is it when 4.5 million children are abused by educators? --- http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/02/is_sexual_abuse_in_schools_very_common_.html
edufan June 22, 2013 at 09:09 AM
Roger, Star Thrower was obviously home-schooled. Not that home-schooling is not an option for some people; however, IMO thrower is a poor representation. IF I home schooled my own children, I would certainly ask him/her to stop posting because he/she is making home schooling look bad. Now waiting for the bashing from the home-school/cyber school fanatic.
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 10:32 AM
On Jun 22, 2013, at 9:20 AM, edufan wrote: Roger, StarThrower was obviously home schooled. Need I say more? -- 6 MINUTES LATER, at 9:26 AM, edufan wrote: Roger, Star Thrower was obviously home-schooled. Not that home-schooling is not an option for some people; however, IMO thrower is a poor representation. IF I home schooled my own children, I would certainly ask him/her to stop posting because he/she is making home schooling look bad. Now waiting for the bashing from the home-school/cyber school fanatic --- I DON'T NEED TO BASH a (claimed) teacher, who illustrates the explicit unpreparedness of public school teachers who teach to tests .. then erases her shortcomings ...
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM
In the future edufan, try to remember .. when you write something stupid and try to cover it up by deleting and re-writing ... everyone gets the emailed message except you .. lol
Country1st June 22, 2013 at 10:50 AM
Corrosive is making grandiose conclusions based on a Slate article. There are plenty of studies out on there on this issue yet actual hard data is minimal (ref. USDH&HS Overview). What we all know is that children are being sexually abused and most perpetrators are family members or close acquaintances. More recently, Internet-initiated sex crimes are increasing. And yes, there is sexual abuse happening in schools -- public, private and @home -- but to suggest that to solve the problem, public schools should be shut down is ludicrous. If you want to sit down and put together an Action Plan -- with a strategy to prevent sexual abuse/misconduct in WCASD including -- I'm in. Ranting on a soap box is disingenuous.
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM
McDonald - I have not even begun to post conclusions - - - Dr Charol Shakeshaft is professor and chair of the Department of Education Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.  She teaches graduate courses in research design, the economics of education, gender equity, and technology - Charol is the author of three books and over 200 referred articles and papers, many of which have received national and state awards.  Her research focuses on three strands:  gender and leadership, sexual abuse of students by adults employed in schools, and the effectiveness of technology for learning, particularly for students of color.  She is the author of Women in Educational Administration (5th printing), Women and Educational Leadership with Margaret Grogan, and Sexual Abuse in Schools, scheduled for publication by Jossey Bass in 2013.  Other publications have addressed race and sex bias in educational practice and research ----- http://www.sesamenet.org/board-of-advisors/54-about-us/board-of-advisors/109-dr-charol-shakeshaft
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM
I have plenty more McDonald.
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 11:43 AM
BTW McDonald - I listed 8 good reasons to shut down BRICK & MORTAR (not just public) schools .. and you give a feeble argument against just one of the non-sustainability issues - lets hear your other seven ??
Country1st June 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM
This is NOT your personal blog -- and the Patch/moderator should shut you down. We get it that this is an important issue for you -- it's an important issue for all of us. I gave you something more than 'reasons' that you came up with on the Internet. Do something to make a positive change. You want to put a Plan together to get something done to benefit the WCASD -- instead of ranting -- let me know. As I said, I'm in. If you're unwilling to do that -- which you apparently are -- then stick to the topic of this article.
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 12:36 PM
The topic of this article is played out here - all we get is Rosemary Decker with a Cathy Binder name " gobbledy-gook" who completely perverts the truth about negotiations .. and then we get edufan who responds with her opinion based on a mis-read statement by Murphy ... then we hear you spouting off about some buffoonery, and you say "THEY KNOW IT" with absolutely no documented proof of anything you say they know - what I say is there are a few hundred thousand pedophile teachers ..."AND YOU KNOW IT" --- did you tell edufan to stick to the topic McDonald? - Now that you see I can document what I write, and you can't answer the other reasons to close B&M schools .. you CRY UNION TEARS FOR THE MOD to take away the bad star thrower - BTW - teachers are retiring in droves, (and you know it) taking their pensions, and looking for jobs in cybers (and you know it)
Star Thrower June 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM
My Fact Finder states that WCASD teachers receive an average of $85.3K per year in salary and benefits while those who pay those expenses average roughly half that amount ... what does your fact finder state McDonald?
Country1st June 22, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Again, you're taking a data point and making a false conclusion. According to http://www.teachersalaryinfo.com/pennsylvania/teacher-salary-in-west-chester-area-school-district/ The 90th percentile of teachers in WCASD are making ~$86K -- not the average teacher -- and the #s are virtually the same for Great Valley, Downingtown and Unionville. Teachers making that salary have decades of experience -- so you would think that you'd be happy since those teachers retiring are in that salary range. Bottom line: -a good teacher is worth every single penny -a functioning school board that values teachers/administrators makes for a better performing school district, and -a great performing school District not only helps the children -- it helps all of us. I hope that the Board and the Union come to a quick resolution -- for the students, the District and the community. I'm out.
Star Thrower June 23, 2013 at 07:26 AM
McDonald - You failed to read that I wrote "salary AND benefits" ... not just salary .. is what it costs the taxpayer - for instance Decker's salary is $68,105.00 .. but with her benefits taxpayers have to shell out $91,413.92 ... an extra $23.3K for the benefits - and your opinion of what any teacher is worth is simply that "YOUR OPINION" ... and has to be taken with a grain of "union salt" - the WCASB electorate says you're wrong, and the populace of the USA says you're wrong
Bob Byrne (Editor) June 23, 2013 at 07:50 AM
Star Thrower- Some of your comments have been deleted for violating Patch's terms of service. Patch welcomes opinions on issues and encourages conversation among interested parties. Please keep it civil.
Star Thrower June 23, 2013 at 09:13 AM
Thank you Bob, not only for revealing your union bias, but also for your terms of service upstage of the first amendment.
edufan June 23, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Star, please just be civil. With every right comes responsibility and some of your comments have been irresponsible. We get that you do not like unions, teachers, taxes, politicians, brick and mortar schools, and most people. We get that you love your money more than anything else. That does not give you the right to make the irrational and incorrect assumptions and accusations that you have made. In his statement, Mr. Byrne did not disclose bias of the issues in any way. My guess is he is receiving an enormous amount of complaints from some of your posts. He has the right to block you, and that is not a 1st amendment violation. Now for some more irrational (IMO!) retorts to my post.
Star Thrower June 23, 2013 at 11:12 AM
edufan .. how does your opinion of my money differ from my opinion of your membership in a parasitic organization, or the FACT that "school teacher" is the occupation of the largest pedophile group in the country? - how also, does the fact that school buildings are unsustainable equate to your opinion that I don't like them? - how also is it that you are unable to answer the comments on fact finding in a manner befitting someone with an intelligence level, yet you are perfectly suited to parrot someone who responds to your whining unionist drivel, and the continuity of union bullying? - BTW, your fearful predictions of what I will reply do nothing but expose your incompetence to be a productive teacher of children.
edufan June 25, 2013 at 06:36 AM
..and as predicted, another irrational retort.
Star Thrower June 25, 2013 at 05:16 PM
... says the insecure anonymous student abuser .. just as I have accurately described ... :)
edufan June 25, 2013 at 06:45 PM
....incorrect description from a fanatical anonymous teacher abuser.


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