Labor Board Sides With Reading Teachers: District Negotiators Had Conflict

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state Labor Relations Board has ruled in favor of the city’s teachers union in a claim against the Reading School District.

The Reading Education Association had filed an unfair labor practice in February 2012, claiming two board members formerly on the district’s negotiation team should be removed.

The union claimed that Karen H. McCree should be barred from negotiations because she is a member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Reading union’s parent organization.  McCree works for the Delaware County Intermediate Unit.

Robert F. Heebner Jr. should be taken off the negotiation team, the union claimed, because as a former Reading teacher he was a member of the Reading Education Association.

Read more:

Pa. Budget Chief Says Pension Reforms Essential

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett will “very likely” propose cutting future pension benefits for current school employees and state workers in the state budget plan he will present to lawmakers next week, his chief budget adviser said Monday.

Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, all but confirming a cost-cutting approach that the administration first floated last fall despite questions about its legality, said decisive steps must be taken to rein in taxpayers’ fast-growing share of pension costs.

“We’ve got to pay for our obligations and we need to look at a rebalancing of our pension obligations … if we’re going to meet our needs without inflicting deep cuts elsewhere in the budget,” he said at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon.

Read more:

An Act 47 For Fiscally Distressed Schools Takes Shape

HARRISBURG – School districts are being evaluated this fall to determine if they belong in fiscal watch status, a new category for designating local government entities on a slippery financial slope.

The state Department of Education is identifying which districts need monitoring because of such factors as low cash on hand or limited ability to generate tax revenue and take on more debt as it implements the School District Financial Recovery Law enacted in July.

The law establishes a state oversight process for school districts similar to what Act 47 offers for fiscally distressed municipalities.

Four urban districts – Harrisburg, York City, Chester-Upland and Duquesne – have received preliminary declarations as districts in financial recovery, the ultimate distress category that triggers the appointment of a chief officer to develop a recovery plan.

Read more:

Reading School District Lays Off 87 More Employees

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly 90 more furlough notices have been handed out to Reading School District employees.

Karen B. Gokay, director of human resources, Thursday confirmed that 65 teaching assistants and 22 secretaries have been formally told they will not have jobs with the district next school year. It is unclear exactly when the layoffs will take effect.

“It’s such a devastating blow for the people being furloughed,” said Charlene Weiser, president of the teaching assistant union, adding that the cuts will negatively affect students. “That’s 65 less assistants in classrooms.”

Read more:

Budget Crisis Forces Staff Cuts In Many Berks County School Districts

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It’s a word that has no doubt become quite familiar to school board members across Berks County as they look to shed expenses.

And the No. 1 expense for a school district? Personnel.

Cutting staff is a tough choice, but one many Berks school districts have faced. In all, 15 districts have said they will trim their ranks for the 2012-13 year.

Because cutting jobs has a big impact on people’s lives, attrition has become the preferred method.

Read more:

Boyertown And Upper Perk Teachers Vote For Wage Freeze

The Boyertown and Upper Perk teachers have agreed to a wage free to help both districts plug their budget deficits.  The savings realized will be in the millions of dollars!

Boyertown has a $6.5 million budget deficit and Upper Perkiomen has a $1.5 million deficit.  Boyertown teachers agreed to forgo raises for this year and next year.  This will save the district about $3 million each year. 

Upper Perkiomen teachers approved a wage freeze for the 2012-2013 school year.  This should save the Upper Perk nearly $500,000 dollars.

Pottstown administrators have agree to a wage freeze but we are still waiting to see what direction the contract negotiations will take with the teacher’s union.

Pennsylvania State Education Association Requesting Teachers Consider Wage Freeze

The largest teacher’s union in Pennsylvania is urging its members to consider Governor Corbett’s proposal that teachers take a one-year wage freeze to help plug the Commonwealth’s $5 billion budget deficit.  The PSEA suggested that other cost-saving measures be considered, in addition to the wage freeze.

While the union is fighting the massive education cuts in the governor’s proposed budget, I applaud their effort to make this sacrifice.

We are facing very difficult times.  Everybody will have to make sacrifices to help Pennsylvania climb out of this chasm.  Many companies are not giving raises to their employees due to the recession.  This is nothing new for most Pennsylvania residents.