Get ready. The cost of a college education in Pennsylvania might be on the way up.
After 18 months of negotiations that included the threat of the system’s first-ever strike, unionized faculty at the 14 state-owned universities are hoping that on Wednesday the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board ratifies its four-year contract proposal.
The most controversial element of the contract has been the need to raise salaries without causing significant tuition hikes, said state system spokesman Kenn Marshall.
The deal calls for salary increases of 11.5 percent for senior faculty and 19 percent for junior faculty over the four years of the contract, with junior faculty members getting the higher increases. Faculty members now receive salaries ranging between $44,795 and $107,870 a year.
Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
POTTSTOWN, PA — The school district’s acting superintendent became its official superintendent Thursday night when the school board unanimously approved a three-year contract for Jeff Sparagana worth more than $173,000 a year.
The vote came almost three months to the day after Reed Lindley abruptly resigned as Pottstown Superintendent.
In a vote that appeared nowhere on the night’s school board agenda, Sparagana was provided with a contract that ends on June 30, 2016.
His term begins immediately. Sparagana’s “aggregate annual salary” will be $173,624, according to the terms of the contract, explained after the vote by School District Solicitor Stephen Kalis.
A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
City police, especially those hired this year and in the future, will take major pay and benefit cuts now and when they retire, according to a five-year contract handed down Friday by a panel of arbitrators.
The panel froze officers’ salaries and step increases for three years and cut starting salaries, vacation time and sick leave in the new contract, which is retroactive to January 2012.
In setting the terms, the panel followed the city’s Act 47 financial recovery plan to cut millions of dollars a year from police costs.
For employees hired before the old contract expired at the end of 2011, the panel kept that contract’s pension benefits – up to 70 percent of working salaries, the ability to buy years of service to raise that pension, and city-paid retiree health insurance.
The Cumberland Valley School District is facing a $6.7 million budget shortfall for the 2011-2012 school year but is not considering redistricting or closing schools. However, there are 17 teachers retiring who may not be replaced and that would lead to larger elementary class sizes. Hiring nine new teachers would cost the school district $1 million and is part of a possible compromise plan to keep class sizes below a certain level.
The board does not want to increase taxes and is looking at all options to cut spending, including teacher and administrator wage freezes. If teachers took a one year wage freeze it would save the district $1 million. Teachers have not volunteered to do so at this time. Administration wage freezes would save the district $177,000. The board is also shelving a contract that would have given teachers 3.15 percent raises over the next four years. The board will begin renegotiating with the teachers unions.
The Cumberland Valley School District is located on Harrisburg’s West Shore with the principal town being Mechanicsburg. The district has about 7,800 students. There are seven elementary schools, two middle schools, a high school and some administration buildings. The district was recognized in 2007 for the number of students achieving high PSSA scores and having a relatively low per-pupil expenditure. In 2011 Cumberland Valley was ranked 23rd out of Pennsylvania’s 498 school districts.
I am pleased to learn that Act 93 employees and PSD administrators have taken voluntary pay freezes. The teaching staff is not part of this group. The Pottstown Federation of Teachers is now involved in a contact dispute with the district that is not going well.
Teachers in the Fleetwood School District (Berks County) have been asked to take voluntary pay freezes, along with the administration, which will save the Fleetwood School District $800,000.
Teachers in the Twin Valley School District (Chester County) have been asked to take voluntary pay freezes, along with the administration, which will save the Twin Valley School District $600,000 to $700,000 a year. The Superintendent, Dr. Robert F. Pleis has already volunteered to take a pay freeze along with his colleagues at Fleetwood and Pottstown.
We give the PSD administration two Roy’s Rants thumbs up for leading by example.
The board also voted NO on “forward borrowing”. “Forward borrowing” would have allowed the district to borrow up to an additional $23 million, over and above the $28 million already authorized. The $28 million was authorized for renovations at the district’s five elementary schools. We applaud the fiscal responsibility shown by the board. PSD already has an enormous debt from the renovations at the high school and middle school. Taxpayers cannot afford more debt. Any amount over $28 million will need voter approval!