Lehigh Valley

Teacher contracts still not agreed upon in Saucon Valley

Monday's bargaining sessions between the Saucon Valley School District and district teachers will spill over to Tuesday's school board meeting.

Andrew Muir, the attorney representing the teachers, says that the teachers plan to bring their proposed contract to the full school board during Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting because the school board only sends three of nine members to bargaining sessions.

Muir says they used the school board's payroll figures that they had previously agreed to over a three-year span and crafted a proposal to fall within their parameters. Their proposal does not require tax increase and Muir says the district has more than $13 million available in surplus funds.

They are hoping the board agrees to the proposal when they have a night to think about it.

Jeffrey Sultanik, the attorney for the school board, calls the teachers' suggestions an "absurd proposal," however.

Sultanik says the district submitted a new stated proposal based on a neutral, outside fact-finder's recommendation, but the teachers refused to prepare a counter proposal and re-proposed a three-year, seven-percent per year increase for each year of contract plan with no changes to health care benefits.

Sultanik said he thinks the teachers are "gearing up for a work-stoppage" come the first teacher workday on August 21, but Muir says that he is optimistic that something will be agreed upon Tuesday night so teachers will not have to strike.

Muir did say, though, that if something isn't done by August 21, the teacher membership could authorize a strike as is their right under Pennsylvania law.

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

The Saucon Valley Education Association represents 185 teachers.

The Saucon Valley School Board meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the High School Audion.

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