Teachers in West Shore SD set to return to school with no contract

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Aug 18, 2016 3:23 PM

(New Cumberland) -- In recent months, Lebanon and Harrisburg have reached deals with their teachers' unions.

But as the start of the school year approaches, West Shore School District is going on nearly two years without a contract.

The most recent agreement between the district and its teachers' union expired in 2014.

Earlier this year, the district rejected a fact-finders report the union says it would have accepted.

Since then, the two sides have been hashing it out in negotiations, with the last offer made early last month.

West Shore Education Association President Kevin Downs says the union is still evaluating the district's final five-year offer made in early July.

"Teachers will be in class at the start of the school year. I know all of my colleagues that I've talked to are excited to be going back. But they're also frustrated with this long drawn-out process that we've had to go through."

Downs adds: "Our goal is to never let that enter the classroom environment. But teachers do feel underappreciated by their own district, a district that many of our teachers went to as students themselves."

The district declined to talk on tape, but a statement on its website says it made its final best offer in early July.

It says teachers would remain the highest paid in the region, and health plans would comply with coming changes at the federal level.

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