MILLVILLE — The Millville Area Junior Senior High School was empty on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the first day of school at the district.
That’s because the teachers are across the street on the picket line.
“We need to attract and retain highly qualified professionals to make sure that students are achieving a high quality education in the Millville community,” said Mark McDade with the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
The teachers in this part of Columbia County went on strike after failed negotiations with the school board.
The union said Millville area teachers have been working without a contract for about three years, but the school board said it has tried to the work with the union since 2012 to avoid a strike.
So, instead of backpacks and books for the almost 700 Millville Area students, it’s an unwanted extended vacation for the kids who said they’re bored.
Despite the negotiations between the teachers union and the school board, students said they want to go back to school, adding they don’t want to go back to the classrooms and end up playing “catch-up” with their school work.
“I spent the entire summer doing homework, so I’m kind of half and half,” said sophomore Sierra Sirota.
“It affects the kids more than anything, because now they’re going to be pushed on time for their education to get through the school year,” said parent Kenneth Bardo.
Bardo has three daughters in the school district.
“There’s no reason to punish the kids’ education because they can’t reach a contract,” said Bardo.
With no negotiations scheduled, students will just have to wait it out.
“I would like for the teachers to get something they’re working for, because this isn’t the first year that they’ve done something. And we have a new superintendent so hopefully things get better,” said junior Garrett Showers.
There are no scheduled meetings between the school board and the teachers union to discuss negotiations, however the strike will likely be brought up at the next school board meeting on Monday.