Lehigh Valley

Parkland reaches 2-yr deal with teachers

Parkland reaches 2 yr deal with teachers

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - The Parkland School board reached a two-year agreement with its teachers union.

The board approved the deal with the Parkland Education Association (PEA) at Tuesday night's meeting after the PEA voted earlier Tuesday.

The contract includes a 2.25% salary increase in the first year, including step movements.

In the second year, members will again receive a 2.25% pay hike.  Stipend salaries for coaches and club or activities advisories will also increase at the 2.25% rate each year.

PEA members will have the option to continue Classic Blue Indemnity Plan for one more year Insurance payroll contributions will increase during the contract.

A new PPO option will include higher deductibles for both single and family coverage.

New in the 2014-2015 contract is a provision that allows employees to opt out of Parkland health insurance if they show proof of insurance from a spouse or parent.

Employees who pick this option will receive a $1,500 stipend per year from Parkland.

According to district officials, if any district health benefit plan exceeds the threshold requirements for any excise tax associated with the Affordable Care Act, the district and PEA agreed to share the cost equitably.

Other changes include:

*  It will be mandatory in 2014-2015 for all employees to be paid by direct deposit, which will save the district administrative, paper and processing costs.

*  Teachers who receive National Board Certification will earn a one-time $3,500 stipend.

*  Both sides agreed on a panel of physicians for worker's compensation..

The new contract runs from August 31, 2014 until August 31, 2016.

Sandi Gackenbach, president of the Parkland Education Association, said, "Our membership is pleased to have earned a fair contract that rewards staff for ongoing graduate study and professional improvement. We are pleased that we could work collaboratively and come to a reasonable settlement worthy of the reputation for excellence that Parkland enjoys."

"Both parties conducted themselves in a professional and collaborative manner throughout the negotiations process. The end result is a fair contract that is fiscally responsible, while rewarding our employees for their skills and dedication to the important and varied roles they play within Parkland," said Superintendent Richard Sniscak.

" I commend the team for keeping the preservation of Parkland's programs and services top of mind for the greater good of our community," he added.

The PEA represents around 640 teachers, nurses, guidance counselors and other professional staff.

Classes start for students on September 2.

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