School Closings And Delays

Both Sides Pleased with Scranton Teachers’ Agreement

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The Scranton School Board is set to vote on the new tentative contract agreement with the teachers come Monday.

The teachers okayed the new three-year deal Wednesday, but how much of a compromise did they make?

Both teachers and members of the Scranton School Board said they were very lucky to have avoided a teachers' strike this year.

The biggest issues in contract negotiations were health care and teachers' salaries. That's where both sides had to make concessions.

Contract negotiations looked bleak heading in to last weekend. Teachers and administrators came to an agreement late Saturday after going the entire school year without a contract.

"We want to avoid a strike at all cost, but there were some big issues on the table that we needed to work out," said Rosemary Boland, President of the Scranton Federation of Teachers.

She added the teachers won a settlement that allows the union more control in selecting a health care provider.

In the new contract, teachers have no changes to health care coverage, medical coverage will still come from Blue Cross Blue Shield and teachers will still pay toward their health care.

Teachers had to make concessions in salaries. For this school year, teachers won't get a raise and only a small percentage raise over the next two school years.

"We had to learn to compromise over salary, we had to learn to do that. Obviously my members would have loved it if there was more money," Boland added.

Members of the teachers' union had a chance to vote on the deal Wednesday and they voted overwhelmingly in favor of it.

Next up, members of the school board need to vote on the deal. Board member Jason Shrive said the district was hard hit by state budget cuts, but the district gave the teachers what it could.

Shrive thinks the contract will be approved.

The Scranton School Board will vote on the contract at its meeting on Monday. If it passes, the contract stands for three years.