Lehigh Valley

Best way to save jobs at EASD? Neither side knows

Best way to save jobs at EASD? Neither side knows

EASTON, Pa. - Dozens of teaching jobs are in danger in the Easton Area School District, but the question remains: can they be saved?

Neither side knows the answer right now, but both are working on a plan.

If an agreement is reached between the union and the administration, it means 29 position cuts through attrition.

No deal means over to 72 people could lose their job.

There are four options on the table, and all call for job cuts in the Easton Area School District, cuts needed to make up a nearly $6-million deficit.

"This budget update is far from the finish product," said John Reinhart, superintendent for the Easton Area School District. "But at this point and time we are looking at these four options."

EASD administrators won't know how deep the cuts will be because they are still working with the union to try and save jobs.

"The conversations need to continue and we're hoping they continue," added Reinhart.

The school board has a plan that would call for eliminating 29 positions over the next two years.

The cuts will be made through attrition.

The deal also needs to be agreed upon by the Easton Area Education Association.

On March 21, representatives from the union and administration announced they were talking.

In a statement, the EAEA says it was presented with the budget scenario on April 15 and is "working within our membership to achieve a workable solution for our district."

"I'm not sure if we're in a position to where we are going to transition to formal negotiations," said Reinhart. "I don't think that's really something that we believe is realistic."

If no agreement is reached, the district is recommending a budget that will include cutting over 72 positions, meaning arts, physical education and music programs will suffer.

There are five weeks before the final budget needs to be approved.

Both sides say they want to save as many jobs as possible, but will an agreement be reached in time.

"I have always been an optimist and will remain an optimist in this case," said Reinhart.

The administration, the union and a board representative have scheduled another meeting on April 22.


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