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 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.
- 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.