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Lehigh Valley

Negotiations resume with Saucon Valley teachers

They've been working under old contract for two years

LOWER SAUCON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - With only 37 days left to negotiate, the union representing teachers in Saucon Valley School District returned to the bargaining table with the district's administration Monday afternoon.

Saucon Valley teachers have been working under an expired contract since June 30, 2012.

The Saucon Valley Education Association represents 187 teachers.

Before the session, Atty. Andrew Muir, who represents the teachers, said they expect the school board to agree to a three percent wage increase. He said that would bring the pay of Saucon Valley on a par with those of other teachers in Northampton County public schools.

"The parties have not been able to reach an agreement for nearly three years and we have 37 days left to negotiate," said Muir, adding that by Aug. 20, he hopes to present Saucon Valley teachers with a fair contract or "with their alternatives."

David Bonenberger, Saucon Valley's business manager, could not be reached for comment because he was in the negotiating session.

"Everyone knows that Saucon Valley is a wealthy district and that it can afford the three percent payroll increase sought by the teachers," said Muir in a news release.

Muir said it is time for the school board to stop playing "bargaining games" and wasting  taxpayers' money "on failed legal maneuvers and public relations campaigns."

He claimed failed legal maneuvering by the district has cost its taxpayers more than $150,000 in legal fees "with no end in sight."

Muir also said only one of the nine school board members has a child in the district and that one of them is "a leading tea-party activist."

Muir said the school district's latest legal move was to request a hearing before the  Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. He said that hearing won't held until November.

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