The following is a statement from West Chester School Board president Vince Murphy about the on-going teacher negotiations.
I have always believed that much can be accomplished if an individual or an organization is armed with information and optimism.
Perhaps that is why I am looking toward the next negotiation session, slated for November 29th, with a glimmer of hope that progress can occur. You see, earlier this month the West Chester Area School Board held an informational session for the West Chester Area Education Association to provide clarity on the health care benefit plan it has proposed to the teacher’s union.
The School Board has proposed Personal Choice 320 – a PPO which provides members freedom to use their own doctors and hospitals, with no referral requirements. The meeting was well-received.
During the November 6, 2012 jointly prepared session that was intended to educate all of our staff on our health benefits program, our health care consulting firm explained plan offerings, answered questions and dispelled misconceptions. The format of the meeting offered an informal and interactive setting for receiving much-needed clarity about the important topics of coverage, costs, flexibility and the need to consider less costly health benefit plans.
Our School Board was caught off-guard the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to receive a revised healthcare proposal from the WCAEA which represented a complete retrenchment from its previous position. Fortunately, the association leadership re-thought the impact of this proposal and submitted a new one this afternoon. While we have been unable to review it yet, we intend to give it our careful attention over the next couple of days.
As we look ahead toward Thursday night’s negotiation session, it is our sincere hope that the information gleaned from the informational session will enable the WCAEA to move forward with a negotiation session that is focused and productive. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful holiday gift to our teachers, our students and our taxpayers to push past obstacles which divide our parties and reach a settlement? I remain optimistic that there could be an opportunity on Thursday night to do just that.