West Chester School Board President Vince Murphy read a statement at Monday’s school board meeting calling upon the teachers union to negotiate and compromise as both sides continue to work towards a new contract.
“It is high time that the West Chester Area School District be the next noteworthy example of a fiscally responsible contract achieved through compromise,” Murphy said.
Murphy pointed to the recently agreed upon contact in the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District. The teachers and board there agreed to a two-year deal that calls for a $2,500 nonrecurring bonus for each bargaining unit member over the course of two years.
“Does this sound familiar?” Murphy asked. “It should. It is the same compensation proposal which our school board extended to our teachers union.”
Union president Debbie Fell said that the union has worked to compromise, and that it’s the school board that refuses to meet in the middle.
“When will you (the school board) come to the negotiation table,” Fell said. “The teachers have already compromised $19 million dollars, and we have collaborated with the district the last two years to save over $10 million.”
A sticking point for the union so far has been that the school board does not attend negotiation sessions.
Instead, the board sends a negotiator who talks with the union and then relays what happened in the session back to the board at a later time.
The next negotiation session for the contract is scheduled for Nov. 29.
“This gives the West Chester Education Association ample time to sharpen its pencils and prepare a health insurance proposal and a response to our salary proposal that demonstrated a commitment to balancing achievement and affordability,” Murphy said.
“When negotiations started, $25 million separated the union and the school board,” said Henderson math teacher Bob Marks. “That union has dropped that number to $6.5 million. The WCAEA has moved quite a bit.”