Letter: Teachers' Union Disappointed in School Board

A letter from the West Chester Area Education Association expresses disappointment in the negotiating process to this point.

The West Chester Area Education Association (WCAEA) wants to continue to work with the negotiators selected by the school board in hopes of reaching a fair and equitable agreement.  We are disappointed that the school board has decided to negotiate in public through press releases and other communications, especially when members have not attended even one bargaining session. In fact, while WCAEA is ready to work all summer long to resolve the issues, not one bargaining session is being held between June 28 and August 9. 

While the school board has characterized its proposal as fair and fiscally responsible, the details and an analysis present a different picture.  The school board proposal of deferred raises, less comprehensive medical plans, increased premium co-pays and contributions would actually REDUCE a teacher’s effective salary 33% over the life of the agreement.     

All residents of the West Chester Area School District enjoy the benefits of a strong, fiscally stable school system.  The high quality reputation of the school district supports property values for all residents.  The PSSA results of the students in the district are among the highest in the entire state of Pennsylvania, with improvements made every year in all measured categories of students learning.  The taxes paid by residents in the district are the lowest in Chester County and among the lowest in the Commonwealth.

The teachers of the West Chester Area Education Association are members of the West Chester community.   We are homeowners and send our children to the schools in which we teach.  We are active members in our communities contributing our time and talent in our neighborhoods, churches, and community organizations.  We are in search of a contract that recognizes the value of our teachers and the success of our students.

Alex Yanushefski,  WCAEA treasurer. 

Howyalikethemapples? July 21, 2012 at 02:07 AM
If it is true that the Board's negotiation team has taken the month of July off and not been wiling to negotiate that is a disappointment, time to get off the beach and get back to work! No rest until this has been resolved should be the guiding principle here. I have a sinking feeling that there are some Board members that would prefer a strike and would love for the contract to drag on and on and disrupt our children's school year. Since too many of the Board members have no stake in our schools or even send their children to the schools they govern, nothing to loose right? Stop the politics. Stop writing letters to the newspaper. Stop taking orders from the party bosses. Put our kids ahead of political ideologies and get the contract resolved.
Coach Clark July 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM
There are no other jobs in America that pay so well and have so many benefits for workers who only need show up less than haf the days in a year. 190 work days - 'personal days' - sick days = < 183 / 365. Almost no private employees pay as little as 7.5% - 10% of their health care costs.You are being subsized more than 90% of the true taxpayer cost. Very few private jobs now offer any defined benefit retirement plans, let alone ones that can pay retirees more after they finish teaching than they earned on average during their working careers. Any professional staff that think there are other, better compensated positions available and waiting for them so exercise their right to go take them. They don't exist. Conversely, there are thousands of top-notch teachers ready and able to teach here in West Chester schools. They would welcome the chance to teach such good students in great facilities and at much lower than currently paid salaries. Taxpayers simply cannot be tasked with the huge PSERS contribution costs while giving automatic annual raises to already highly paid workers. America is in bad fiscal shape. Cities and states are filing bankruptcy or teetering on the verges of it due to public service pension obligations. WAKE UP. WCAEA members should be counting blessings - not complaining.
Big Papa July 21, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Coach -- I wouldn't go so far as stating we have "great" facilities. Sure the high schools are sufficient but the elementary schools are horrid. Buildings designed and built in the '50s and '60s that have not been properly updated and most still lack air conditioning. Yes, they are clean and the custodial staff is to be commended for doing the best they can to keep these concrete block and classroom trailers functional. We should be building new elementary schools with world class learning environments.
Cathy Binder July 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Coach Clark, your facts are way off. I have done my research as a parent and a member of this community. The amount the teachers contribute is anywhere from 10% to 35% toward their health care depending on the plan they select. The pension is not in the hands of the board, that is a state issue. What I want to know is is our board took the holiday and did not pay their share for the past ten years? If so they have created the problem and for that we hold them accountable, but we all must pay the bill and quit blaming the teachers. It is not realistic to ask the teachers, if the numbers are correct, to take what will amount to a 33% paycut over the life of the contract. Not in a county ranked the 21st richest in the nation, with the lowest tax rate in the county, high test scores, and a median household income of over $100,000. And as far as your diatribe of how much teachers work, that is an old tired story. I know I get answers to emails from my kids teachers at all hours, well after the school day. From elementary to high school the teachers and administrators have been responsive and helpful. Is it always perfect, nope. But it is an imperfect world. But for what I pay in taxes I could NEVER get even close anywhere else. I am getting tons of bang for my buck.
sergei bobrovsky September 25, 2012 at 06:26 AM
Cathy who cares what the median income is in the district. I send my kids to private schools, not because I don't believe in public education but as a personal choice. Our taxes have gone from 3200 per year in west Goshen to 5200 last year. That increase has been in 10 years. The teachers in this area are fairly compensated. At some point the madness over raising taxes to compensate for AstroTurf fields etc needs to stop. Bring back some fiscal sanity and stop playing politics on the board.


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