MC teachers OK 5-year contract
BY K. SCOTT KREIDER, Correspondent
Teachers at Manheim Central School District voted Thursday night to ratify a new 5-year contract.
Manheim Central Education Association President Louise Anderson said in an email Thursday that she is pleased with the vote, but she "would like to reserve further comment until Monday night's board meeting," when the board will take their vote.
Manheim Central teachers have been working without a contract since the end of 2009-10, when their previous contract expired.
After an impasse in negotiations with the school board that lasted nearly three years, the state Labor Relations board appointed fact-finder Francis McGrath in August to mediate a settlement.
In October, both the school board and MCEA voted to approve the fact-finder's report which recommended salary increases, higher insurance premiums to be paid by teachers, and changes to the work schedule and preparation time.
The first draft of the new contract was completed in December, but disagreement on language about preparation and planning time delayed the vote, according to business manager Nathan Wertsch.
The fact-finder's report resolved a lot of core issues that were causing a stalemate, Wertsch said Thursday before the MCEA meeting.
But, he said, there were still a lot of "odds and ends to get into contract language" that both sides could agree on.
"It's at the point now where both sides are in agreement, it's just a matter of getting the wording right," Wertsch said.
The district has implemented some of the changes laid out in the contract, Wertsch said.
As of Jan. 1, health insurance changes took effect for all employees. These included significant increases in monthly employee contributions, in-network deductibles and co-pays.
Wertsch estimated the changes would save the district about $160,000.
On Jan. 11 the district provided retroactive payment of salary increases for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, Wertsch said, costing the district $356,000.
If the board approves the contract on Monday, teachers will receive retroactive payment of a 2.6 percent salary increase in February for the 2012-13 school year. Salaries will then increase 2.5 percent for the next two years before the contract ends in 2015.
"It's a 5-year deal," Wertsch said. "Two years are done and over with, we're in the third year now, and we have two years ahead of us."