Penn Hills Teachers Pack School Board Meeting

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Penn Hills Teachers Pack School Board Meeting

Post  Admin on Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:49 pm

Mar 8, 2010 11:31 pm US/Eastern

Penn Hills Teachers Pack School Board Meeting

PENN HILLS (KDKA) Teachers in the Penn Hills School District packed a school board meeting Monday night in a fight to protect their jobs.

The teachers union learned last week the district was planning to furlough at least 60 teachers and other faculty members.

Janis Shondeck, a science teacher, is on the furlough list. She pointedly addressed School Board President Joseph Bailey, Jr.

"I have students who are so far behind in science when they get to me in ninth grade, I have to start from scratch," she said. "And Mr. Bailey, you've been in my classroom. You praised me and you said, 'I wish there were more teachers like you.' And I'm possibly losing my job over this."

Other speakers wondered about the direction of the school district.

"These 66 layoffs that I'm hearing that's a disgrace," Erin Vecchio, former school board president, said. "When we have how many kids in the classroom that aren't getting educated now?"

The school district's solicitor, Craig Alexander, said the furlough list was only tentative and the district had to put it out when it did to avoid a possible grievance.

He says the final figures until the budget is passed in June.

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Re: Penn Hills Teachers Pack School Board Meeting

Post  HopefulInPh on Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:21 pm

Anyone remember this from the EMG Report?

"In 2002-03 the ratio of professional staff to students was one professional staff per 12.97 students. If the district were to implement the 2002-03 ratio in the current school year, professional staff could be reduced by 71 positions."

I think the District is following a lot of the recommendations in that report!!
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Dozens shut out of Penn Hills meeting

Post  mr.ed on Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:22 am

Dozens shut out of Penn Hills meeting 58 Minutes ago
Dozens shut out of Penn Hills meeting


About the writer
Tony LaRussa is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer and can be reached at 412-320-7987 or via e-mail.





By Tony LaRussa
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, March 11, 2010

Buzz up!


Several dozen people -- including parents, teachers, media and municipal officials -- were prevented from entering Monday's Penn Hills school board meeting because the crowd exceeded the capacity of the meeting room.

The president of the 415-member Penn Hills teachers union said nobody should have been shut out.

"We asked the administration to hold the meeting in a larger location, but they refused our request," Ryan Osorio said. "I think they purposely wanted to limit the number of people who showed up to support the teachers."

School board President Joseph Bailey said the superintendent made the decision not to move the meeting from the administration building.

Superintendent Joseph Carroll said "a change of venue has not traditionally been the superintendent's call." He refused to answer additional questions about why the meeting was not moved.

Osorio said the union asked teachers and their supporters to attend the meeting as a sign of solidarity as it negotiates a contract with the district. The union is working under the terms of a contract that expired Aug. 31.

Previous meetings in which large crowds were anticipated were moved to the auditorium of the high school, which is within walking distance of the administration building.

Shortly before the start of Monday's meeting, Penn Hills police officers ordered people inside who didn't live in the district to leave, citing an order from the fire marshal.

The go-ahead to let more people inside came about 8:30 p.m., after others had left the meeting. By that time, however, the meeting was half over, and many of those waiting outside, including a Penn Hills councilman, had left.

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Rising tensions in Penn Hills forestall contract deal

Post  mr.ed on Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:39 pm

Rising tensions in Penn Hills forestall contract deal

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By Tony LaRussa
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, March 11, 2010

Buzz up!


Acrimony between the Penn Hills school board and its teachers union is beginning to overshadow labor negotiations that have failed to yield any substantial progress.

The union has accused the board of wasteful spending and poor leadership on fliers and social networking sites. The district derided the union on a roadside electronic billboard, prompting an apology.

On Monday, teachers and their supporters attended the regular board meeting to reiterate their criticisms. Board President Joseph Bailey says the teachers are trying to divert attention from salary and benefits demands that are exorbitant.

"These things are all illusions. They're a smokescreen," said board President Joseph Bailey. "What residents tell me, and what the board feels, is that while we truly support our teachers and value their work, what they're asking for is unfair and not in the best interest of this community."

Butch Santicola, a spokesman for the union, questioned how failing to attract and retain good teachers by paying a competitive salary and benefits is going to improve the quality of education in Penn Hills.

"This district is just jumping on the bandwagon of saying let's cut, cut, cut until there's nothing left and everybody's at the bottom," he said. "Is this supposed to make the community an attractive place to live?"

The 415 teachers represented by the union have been working under the terms of a contract that expired Aug. 31. They went on strike for four days last month.

At Monday's board meeting, science teacher Kelly Shiring said the district's message is for "established, effective, good teachers to run, run as fast and far from this district as you can."

Teachers say the planned layoffs of as many as 80 teachers will increase class size and further reduce student achievement. The district contends the layoffs are necessary, the result of losing 561 students since 2008.

The district's latest offer, rejected by teachers last week, was a five-year deal with a wage freeze in the first year, a 3.25 percent raise in the second, a 3.5 percent raise in the third, and 3 percent raises in the fourth and fifth. According to the state Department of Education, Penn Hills teachers earned an average of $48,817 during the 2007-08 school year. The average teacher's salary in Allegheny County that year was $52,035 and the statewide average was $56,091.

By the end of the contract, teachers would be paying 7 percent toward the cost of medical insurance. The average public employee in Pennsylvania pays 8.3 percent for health insurance. Private-sector workers pay an average of 23.9 percent.

Teachers want a five-year contract with raises of about 6 percent a year. They want to keep paying 1.2 percent of their salaries toward health insurance, and cut the amount to 0.4 percent for teachers who do not cover spouses and families. They want coverage for domestic partners and insurance from the time they retire until they are eligible for Medicare.

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Re: Penn Hills Teachers Pack School Board Meeting

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