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School Board Says $6.2 Million Divides Teachers and District

A new statement from the West Chester School Board says $6.2 million divides the two sides.

The following is a press release from the West Chester Area School Board.

Optimism turned to disappointment this week when the West Chester Area School Board Negotiating Team evaluated the newest proposal submitted by the West Chester Area Education Association and saw that it represented a $6.2 million gap between what the District and  the union were seeking in the next contract.
 
The union’s newest two-year proposal – the first formal proposal it has submitted since March – includes the following:
 
Salary Increases

  • Salary increases of 6.3% over a two-year period (1.94% in year one and 4.34% in year two).
  • A 2% increase on all supplemental contracts in year two of the proposed contract.

 
Benefit Changes

  • An increase in the employee Cost Sharing for medical coverage from 10% to 12% of the core healthcare plan in year two of the proposed contract.  There is currently no cost sharing for teachers for the prescription, dental and vision plans
  • An expansion of the existing insurance plan to add domestic partners as eligible dependents to medical prescription, dental and vision plans.
  • An increase the Health Reimbursement Account for teachers hired after July 1, 2003 from $20,000 to $35,000.  The proposal does not address any changes to the generous retiree healthcare coverage given to our teachers hired prior to 2003.
  • Reduce the reimbursement for coursework for teachers who have already achieved a Masters degree to 40% of the cost of the coursework. Reimbursement for teachers without a Masters Degree will remain at 90% of the cost of the graduate course with no additional dollar limit based on the tuition cost.

Additionally, the proposal calls for the District to seek no penalties against the Union if they decide to go out on strike.
 
According to District calculations, the union’s newest proposal will cost the District $6.2 million more than the School Board’s current proposal.  “We are disappointed. We have waited for a formal counter proposal for six months,” explained School Board president Vince Murphy. “The Association is well aware of our financial predicament and our commitment to balancing achievement and affordability. We would have liked to have seen a more open minded approach – especially when it comes to health care plans.”
 
The next negotiation session is scheduled for September 12. For more information, visit www.wcasd.net.

Steve Maher September 05, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Taxpayers and parents can't really trust this current school board administration because of their ties to the right wing of the Republican Party. School board members Sean Carpenter and Maureen Snook are current Republican committee members. Vince Murphy's wife, Mary Dixon-Murphy, is also a Republican committee person from East Goshen. Dr. Maria Pimley's brother-in-law, Mark Pimley, is also a Republican committee person from East Bradford. Just recently Chester County Republican Chairman, Val DiGiorgio, sent out an email blast to committee members that it was important to get behind this current school board. They are clearly playing politics with our children and our tax dollars. Another point is how much the current school board is wasting our tax dollars on a negotiator, a PR firm, a sent out an expensive mailer to every household within the school district. The PR firm is costing $6,000 a month since January 2012. The negotiator has $20,000 and counting. Finally, the mailer cost between $15,000 to $20,000! The real question is, where is this money in the budget?
Steve Maher September 05, 2012 at 11:50 PM
The proposal from the union contains the following items: Here is what the teachers have proposed into comparison what Vince Murphy has reported. There is a difference in the pay raise requests! It seems that Mr. Murphy is misrepresenting the truth. 1. Include Domestic Partners in the medical coverage. 2 .Increase premium share for health care plan from 10% to 12% in the second year. 3. Increase the retiree’s Health Retirement Accountant for members hired after 2003 from $20,000 to $35,000. 4. No change to any current retiree health benefits. 5. Reduced tuition reimbursement after Masters from 90% to 40%. 6. Increase supplementals (which have been frozen since 2009) by 2%. 7. Wage increase: a. 1st year: step and column movement half-way through the year, and an additional $500 to teachers at the top step b. 2nd year: full step and column movement, and an additional $500 to teachers at the top step After contract talks that began in February, the teachers and the District were reportedly $25 million apart. With their latest two year proposal, the teachers’ union has closed the gap to $1 million which includes a 3.77% raise. The teachers have given up cost of living increases and any monetary increases to the salary scale.
RoxyD September 06, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Sad thing is that we taxpayers are probably paying for the PR firm to write up these press releases. By the way, Karen Miller is also a Republican Committee Person.
Heidi Adsett September 06, 2012 at 12:39 AM
What a hypocrite you are, Steve. Susan Tiernan is a Democrat Committee person. I guess HER affiliation to the left wing loonies doesn't count, or her attendance at rallies for Planned Parenthood. And you call this board radical? But then again, look at the Democrat philosophy: Do as I say and not as I do. Or is it just do as I say or you will be vilified because we know what is best for you? God Bless America!
Steve Maher September 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM
RoxyD, Thanks for the Karen Miller update. Thats just one more connection to the Republican party inserting politics into the school board.
Heidi Adsett September 06, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Susan Tiernan is also a retired teacher. Certainly no conflict of interest there. But then again, Jim Smith was a retired teacher, president of teachers union, football coach and previous board president. Sue Carty is a Democrat Committee person and retired teacher, previous board VP. Martha Carson Gentry is a retired teacher, previous board member. And you wonder why the district is in bad shape. The fox was guarding the hen house. Jim Davison might have a spouse in the district. Not sure so I don't want to start rumors. So can you knock it off with this self-serving lip service about how the R's are playing politics. It shows your ignorance. But then again, do as I say and not as I do.
RoxyD September 06, 2012 at 02:03 AM
John Galt speaks for Heidi Adsett. Or is it Heidi Adsett speaks AS John Galt?
Howyalikethemapples? September 06, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Yes, there are way too many political ties to this board, we can all agree on that. Let's take back our district from the political parties who see this as a grand prize they like to flaunt in the face of the opposing party. But be realistic the GOP want to control this board forever in order to advance their extreme social and religious agendas. Take religion out of politics and politics put of our schools. And remember, it was 8 votes, including 7 endorsed republicans that gave you your most recent tax hike, so maybe the political party control really isn't that great regardless of party.
Heidi Adsett September 06, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I wouldn't give her that much credit. Galt is a classic. She is a novice.
Truth hurts September 06, 2012 at 01:08 PM
And for those who don't realize that John Galt is not a real name, it comes from the classic book Atlas Shrugged written by Ayn Rand, and professed as the favorite book of Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Coincidentally, if Ayn Rand was alive today she would most definitely not be supporting the philosophies or politics of Paul Ryan. Nor does Paul Ryan endorse any of the philosophies of Ayn Rand. It's just a good book that many tea partiers like. Read it for perspective, if you would like.
Coach Clark September 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM
The futrue is looming here too... Gov’t retirees stick us with $250B bill By ERIK KRISS, Bureau Chief NY Post September 6, 2012 ALBANY — The state’s taxpayers are on the hook for nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars in unfunded health-care costs for retired government workers, a blockbuster report says. The Empire Center for New York State Policy says it has toted up, for the first time, the combined unfunded liability of the state and its biggest local governments, school districts and public authorities. They’ve promised nearly $250 billion — including $83.9 billion from the city and $73.2 billion from the state at last count — “that they have set aside no money to pay for,” the conservative think tank declared in a report it released yesterday. The staggering total “represents a mammoth potential transfer of wealth from future taxpayers to current government employees and retirees — for a type of benefit that is not available to the vast majority of private-sector workers,” the center added. “The burden of retiree health care is clearly unsustainable and unaffordable.” Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/gov_retirees_stick_us_with_bill_K5Aamb8nYHlVGSK05xRUMM#ixzz25h7reAJO
Coach Clark September 06, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Please note that locally it will be the PSERS contributions that scuttle the whole system.
Howard September 06, 2012 at 02:28 PM
All speculation and politics without detailed cost analysis
Testudo September 06, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Oh please, most of you people are ridiculous. I love how most people like to paint teachers and government employees as these greedy, money grubbing people who are just trying to extort every "hard earned" tax dollar from you. That's absolutely ridiculous. Teachers, like most government employees, sacrifice what would most likely be better pay and benefits in the private sector to perform a crucial civic duty. But just because they choose to make that sacrifice that doesn't mean that they should be forced to accept a quality of life below other people who decide otherwise. As a former member of the West Chester Country Club I saw numerous people who made six figures plus and worked in insurance, pharmaceuticals or finance and were always on the course by noon. These people barely worked half a day and pulled in six figures and big bonuses and they were the same ones who would scoff at a teacher looking to get a 6% increase over two years - barely even covering cost of living increases. Did these people work harder than the average teacher? Not in any way, shape or form. They simply decided to pursue a career that, while providing less tangible benefit to society, offered relative financial security. I don't mean to criticize people for making those decisions but who is really greedy out there? Not the teachers I don't think.
Testudo September 06, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I get tired of politicians portraying the government as some abstract concept. The government is made up of federal employees who are husbands, wives, sons, daughters and grandparents just like anyone else. They share the same concerns as anyone else. How am I gonna put my kid through school? How will I cover these medical bills? Etc. The irony is that when many politicians talk about creating jobs they talk about slashing the government here, there and everywhere. But what are they really cutting? Federal jobs, hundreds of thousands of them. Putting people just like me and you out on the street. So just do me a favor and don't look at the government as some abstract concept to be despised but rather as a group of millions of people who sacrificed more lucrative wages to perform a valuable civic duty and who are rewarded with the contempt of countless people who simply don't believe that government employees have the same right to a decent living as they do.
Cathy Binder September 06, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I am with you Testudo. I work in the private sector, but many in my family work in public sector jobs and I know many teachers who live in my neighborhood. I get sick to death of this "I work so much harder than any teacher does" mentality. What do they really know. I have taken the time to read the teacher contracts, talk to real live teachers and try to by being in the schools, talking to administrators etc. to find out what the truth really is. -No teacher in West Chester can ever make more than six figures on the current pay matrix, even with a doctorate. -Teachers can be fired, and the union has NO control over that. The evaluations that determine firing and the documentation are 100% in the hands of the administration as are teacher assignments and placements. Right of teaching assignment is in the contract. The union protects due process rights only to be sure people are not terminated without cause and without the rules being followed. -Tenure does not mean you cannot be fired, that is a myth. Tenured teachers are fired all the time. The PSERS situation - uh your district took a ten year holiday from paying their share as did the state - the teachers have been paying in their share all along. Now we do get stuck paying the bill. NOt the teachers fault. Blame the district for that mess. -YOur taxes in WCASD are the lowest in the county and your schools are ranked among the highest. -The retirees do NOT get lifetime healthcare-they pay for it.
Cathy Binder September 06, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Your ignorance of the PA system is showing. The teachers pay for the retiree health care. If you go online and read the WCASD contract the teachers when they retire only qualify to buy into the group plan until they qualify for medicare at age 65 - then they are on their own. The provision for the employees after 2003 is that the district rather than giving them the option to buy into the same plan the employees have is to give them a lump sum, a voucher so to speak to cover the cost of premiums to cover whatever health plan they can find until they reach medicare age. So a teacher who started work in the district at age 21 in 2003 works until age 60, which under the current PSERS plan would qualify for full retirement - 39 years service. Under current law they cannot get Medicare until age 65 - they are given 25,000 to find an insurance plan to cover them until that time - or $5000 a year. Uh, I think we know that is not a lot, less than Mr. Ryan currently is giving as his medicare voucher. Please lets educate ourselves - this is all on the district website and on PSERS. I am trying to find out as much as I can. The more I read, the more I support the teacher position. It is simple analysis, and as a community member I want to support them as it impacts the value of my home and the education of my kids.
Truth hurts September 07, 2012 at 12:48 AM
If only this school board would stop outsourcing their duties with taxpayer money and actually show up to a negotiation session, maybe then the teachers union could teach them MATH?!
Coach Clark September 07, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Like saying teachers "pay for their own benefits" when taxpayers subsidize 90% of their health care and retirement costs.
Who is Coach Cut & Paste? September 07, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Coach Cut and Paste strikes again with incorrect propaganda sound bites! Some day maybe our ex-school board member will realize when she has it good in her republican electioneered position making more than almost all of the West Chester teachers while collecting her public employee pension from a previous job and not even paying property taxes in West Chester.
Joe K September 07, 2012 at 01:35 PM
"sacrifice what would most likely be better pay and benefits in the private sector to perform a crucial civic duty"?!?!?!? You mean make on average $70k a year and have three months off? And they want no accountability for performance!!! Talk about out of touch...
Star Thrower September 08, 2012 at 03:18 PM
The ten year holiday is a myth - the money was paid by public service unionist gambling, funded by corrupt investment banks with the real estate credit default swap scam ... ultimately paid for on the back of the private sector - due to the criminally negotiated collective bargaining agreement, the $4Billion loss incurred by the PSERS tertiary investment usurers is now expected to be made up by the very same private sector --- the only thing I can tell you with great certainty is: AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN
Star Thrower September 08, 2012 at 03:19 PM
You do not have to pay property taxes in West Chester to point out that union teachers receive their life support in the same manner as carriers of West Nile virus.
Cathy Binder September 09, 2012 at 12:01 AM
You can call it a myth all you want star thrower, but wanting to believe that and actual fact are two different things. Check out state law that made it possible. The pension system is in place for all state and school employees. It is FACT that the state borrowed from those funds, and by legislation allowed the boards and the state to not pay their legally obligated share into a system that was more than solvent. You can hate the fact that public sector workers get a pension, you can hate public sector workers period. It is really immaterial. What you seem to advocate is a lack of any social responsibility to supporting public education. Shame on you.
Star Thrower September 09, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Let me make something clear - I do not hate any human being .. I do however despise organizations (unions), that prey on children to further their dogmatic assertion that public education is the new religion and teachers are the new priests. The WCASD elected school board has to be free to direct the education system without state-supported religious worship. "Shame on Unionists" Social responsibility is a union propagandist buzzword used to cultivate the illusion of togetherness in a predatory environment that uses indoctrination textbooks as well as contrived critical thinking techniques in the formative years of children. Public education last year paid $1.4 billion (taxpayer dollars) to collection agencies to hunt down students who defaulted on their education loans ... where was the social responsibility? Ms Binder - Please reference the state law you say that made it possible for unions to keep their profits from stock market gambling, yet charge the taxpayers when they are swindled by investment bankers using a derivative scam ... If I am not mistaken those acts are known as the pension shortfall scam where unions colluded with corrupt legislators in the "YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I'LL SCRATCH YOURS" negotiations.
Coach Clark September 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Chris Ross nows says his decision to vote YES to the 25% public pension increase in 2001 was his worst vote ever as an elected official. (Pensions went from 2% per year of service to 2.5%). Of course, legislators were voting themselves 50% raises (from 2% to 3% per year of service) at the same time. Fiscal insanity paid for by property taxes.
Testudo September 09, 2012 at 08:42 PM
First of all, I don't think any teacher expects no or even limited accountability for performance, nor are they asking for that. Then again I don't know what your definition of performance is. 100% of students with 2400 on their SAT's? Good luck with that. As to your point about how most teachers have it too good, you're absolutely right! Teachers should be forced to pay all taxpayers for the honor of teaching their children. Just imagine the prestige associated with being able to say that you were the teacher who taught Joe K's kid. What they would pay for that! And I guess during the 3 months they have off (which I do seriously admit is a big benefit, just not proper justification for reduced pay) we should have them mow all the taxpayers lawns. That way, all the narrow minded individuals can feel like they're actually receiving some tangible benefit from their tax dollars which support education.
Cathy Binder September 09, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Wow, you are one bitter human being. We clearly see the world very differently. I see as much corruption in the private sector. The so called collusion you seem to want to lay at the feet of the union I would say is the nature of business practices that occur in the investment communities world wide. I suggest you direct your outrage at the big wide world, and quit the blame game. Your vision is quite narrow, and I dare say quite delusional.
Cathy Binder September 09, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Uh, not the pensions of the state level workers and the legislators and the judges. As far as teachers - they pay in 7.5% of their salaries I think at present. The district is to pay a share as well as the state. Now, if the system were to change the district would still cost share. You can say not, but in the federal system that is still what happens in the FERS plan. Look it up. Even if we went to a 401K system for the district employees the schools would pay a matching amount. Many states have found this turned out to be more expensive for them in terms of administrative costs. There is much more to this than meets the eye. To say we give our public sector employees nothing - not realistic and won't ever happen.
Star Thrower September 10, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Wake up Binder - did anyone ever tell you you have an amazing command of the obvious? Yes, of course there is just as much corruption in the private sector ... maybe more - the big difference is, I am not forced to purchase their product with property taxes under threat of eviction. are you certain you're not a union teacher? You seem to have the same power of observation as a typical genius public service unionist.

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