Students and parents at Tulpehocken School District needn't worry about another teacher's strike.The teacher's union and the district recently announced that parties have settled on terms of a new contract which will stay in place for the next four years.
The new contract was voted on and approved at a special meeting on Aug. 14.
Tulpehocken School Board President Ralph E. Moyer said, "I think both sides can agree that it was a reasonable contract."
According to the new contract, teachers will receive a raise of 4 percent annually the first three years; and a final raise of 3.9 percent during the fourth year of the pact.
An extensive section of teacher preparation time is also included. Teachers of all grade levels, elementary through high school, are guaranteed no less that one preperation period per school day. Teachers were guaranteed prep time in their previous contract and did not want to lose that during the new negotiations.
Teachers will also be required to pay 8 percent into their health care costs the first two years; and 9.5 percent during the last two years of the contract.
Specifics are also listed when personal days off cannot be used. Staff members will not be able to utilize any of their personal days the day before or after Christmas and Easter breaks.
Glenn Dunkleburger, chief negotiator for the teacher's union, confirmed that this change was new to the contract.
It is also stated in the contract that there is to be no striking during the agreement of the new settlement between both parties. When a representative from the high school was asked to comment on whether or not there would have been a strike this year without a finalized contract, she declined to comment.
Dunkleburger stated that the new contract took nearly 18 months to revise. He stated that he is pleased that it will be in place for a few years to come.
The new contract will remain in tact until July 2011. The previous contract teachers had with the district was only two years in length. The four-year contract allows more time between future negotiations.