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Abington Heights School District Facing Possible Teachers’ Strike

SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP — It was the first day of school for students in the Abington Heights School District in Lackawanna County and already there’s conflict brewing.

Parents, teachers, and administrators gathered Wednesday night to discuss a possible strike that’s scheduled for next week.

“We, the teachers, do have a strike planned for next week.”

It was a bold message from Abington Heights Teachers Union President Jim Maria to the school board.

The teachers will go on strike on September 11 if there isn’t an increase in salaries.

Teachers have been working without a contract since 2011 and say their pay has remained the same since.

“We’re just hoping we can come to some terms on things like retro-active pay and a reasonable increase so that people can stay competitive,” said Maria.

“I don`t remember ever a time when negotiations ran on and a contract expired for a year or more when retro-activity was not done,” said parent Alex Fried.

The school board held an informational session to lay out the district`s finances. To meet the union’s salary demands, the board said it would cost the district more than $15 million over a six-year period. That would call for an 18 percent increase in school taxes, meaning the average homeowner would pay an extra $422 a year.

The average homeowner already pays more than $2,300 in school taxes alone, which the district said is the highest in Lackawanna County.

The district`s counter offer for a teachers’ raise would cost a little more than $3 million over six years.

“I submit while yes, we need to have reasonable increases for our teachers and our teachers have to be better off next year than the year before, we have to be reasonable and responsible,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Mahon.

“I make $22,000 a year after I pay my health insurance and taxes. I`m a CNA. I work 12 hour night shifts. I feel that I work just as hard as a teacher or any other person that is employed,” said parent Roxanne Evans.

The teachers union has two negotiating sessions planned with district officials; one on September 8 and one on September 10.

If an agreement is not reached, the teachers plan to strike on September 11.

35 comments

  • Charly Lucky

    2012, the average teacher salary in Abington Heights School District was $58,560.03 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $25,636.64 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $84,196.67.[158] The District employed 277 teachers and administrators, with an average teacher salary of $60,453 and a top salary of $127,685.[159][160] According to a 2011 study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security

  • Maria

    It’s funny whenever I talk to friends in other states. They are always amazed at how much money our teachers here make per year. And yet they want more. It’s not like they’re doing a good job either because kids here are pretty darn dumb.

  • Reality Check

    I’m very curious why all of the people on here that think teaching is such an outrageously overpaid and easy, part-time job haven’t themselves become teachers. C’mon, folks. Go get that easy degree, and land yourself a cushy job. Why deny yourself the easy life? Could it be that you actually realize it’s not that easy?

    PS. Teachers are taxpayers, too.

    • Ronaldus Magnus

      Teachers may have taxes withheld from their paychecks but in reality they are not tax payers but tax takers. If the average salary is $58,000 and the average school tax is $2300 then the net tax revenue loss per teacher is about $55,700

      • Reality Check

        Are you really this much of a fool? Of course teachers make more in salary than they pay in taxes. It wouldn’t be a very wise career choice otherwise. Do you pay your employer more than you are paid?

  • Joey

    What can possibly be wrong? Everybody in that area is so so extremely close minded, ungrateful, and inconsiderate…. They are already rich there… No surprise that they want more though.

  • Scran-Tony

    These schools today are nothing more than Fascist brain-washing facilities. We’re one step away from putting arm bands on our children and having them say sieg hiel. It’s past due to put these teachers on the chopping block and remind them that teaching is not a sacred position to have

  • angelo

    Unions need to vanish, the non-union taxpayers can’t afford them anymore. They need to feel lucky to be employed and quit their whining. My employer doesn’t cover 100% of my healthcare or provide a pension, why the hell should I pay for someone elses. Time to get off your high horses or be replaced with unemployed teachers who will be greatful just for the opportunity to work.

  • George

    They don’t care about our children or there future. I looked at taxies for last year and they were 3,200 for the year, but now I may be asked to pay another 400 dollars a year?I didn’t see one more dime in pay and it cost myself and my family more to live.
    I say we should only pay for the teachers health care and not there family like most of us have to do. That would save a lot of money. There is always the ACA for there family

  • Charly Lucky

    OVER PAID AND UNDER WORKED!!!!! The whole lot of them, and all they do is cry cry cry. Let us all keep in mind that they’re YEARLY SALARY IS BASED UPON 180 days of work, THATS IT. While the rest of the working world’s YEARLY SALARY is based on 250 DAYS, and that is if we get Saturday and Sunday off, with 2 weeks vacation. So lets do the math, $60,000 per year, divided by 180 days, comes to $333 per day, for teachers. Now, $60,000 a year, divided by 250 days comes to $240 per day, for the rest of the world. Thats $97 dollars more per day, AND THEY CRY CRY CRY>>>>>>>>>>

    • fratboy

      Ah, Mr. Math Whiz; teachers get that 180 days of pay spread out over 365 days. Just as your 250 days are spread out over 365 days. And, when was the last time your job required you to go to work early, stay late, go back in the evening, go in on weekends, volunteer for extra work related activities, buy supplies for yourself an 120 other people, etc. instead of comparing days worked, how about hours worked.

      • alreadytappedout

        MrFratboy,
        You are comparing 180 working days a year to 250 working days a year. Yet, you have the nerve to cry about coming in early or staying late. There are a lot of folks like myself who have skilled jobs that are integral in the community, who make less, pay for health care, and do the same! If the teachers in our district are showing greed, entitlement attitude and disregard for the less fortunate, what an example they are setting for their students. Time for some new fresh teachers in this area. They would no doubt love an opportunity to work for a fair salary and chip in for their health care.

      • Equality

        Unions should dissipate as they are abused often. Yearly reviews, raises based on work and contribution to benefits. That’s how ALL businesses, including schools, should run. Increases based on doing well at your job.

        To answer your question… I am not a teacher but I work day, evenings and weekends when necessary and pick up slack when my company needs extra effort. I do not get paid hourly. Not having a raise in 3 years is an unfortunate reality in today’s economy. Very sad yet very true. $400 additional a year is outlandish. If they feel it isn’t, maybe it should be mandatory they live in the city their school resides in so they can also contribute.

        What breaks my heart is the kids who had only 3 teachers attend high school graduation and the children who will have shortened holidays. They are being punished.

        I hope this comes to a resolve soon. :(

      • Ronaldus Magnus

        Oh boo hoo. I can’t imagine that anyone else on this forum has ever had to go in early or stay late or maybe even come in on weekends for a few hours. I bet quite a few of them wish they were still making the same thing they were making in 2011 but many are making less.

  • Jimmy

    If there is a strike, I plan on setting up a whine station near the poor picketing teachers. They’ll be plenty of tissues for all of the tired and crying teachers, and grief counselors to help the teachers handle another year with low pay. At the end of each day, I plan on carrying each teacher back to their BMW, Mercedes, and/or Land Rover and send them home with the hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
    I can’t do this by myself. Will you join me?

  • Jeffrey

    Several years ago professors at public universities in Pennsylvania began contributing to their health care costs. Why should teachers at local public schools expect to be treated any differently?

  • James Rosato

    “I make $22,000 a year after I pay my health insurance and taxes. I`m a CNA. I work 12 hour night shifts. I feel that I work just as hard as a teacher or any other person that is employed,” said parent Roxanne Evans

    If your pay is bad, your hours are bad, and your health insurance is bad you should start a union. It seems to be working for the teachers.

  • Fratboy

    He is what you do. Make teaching a job that requires only a high school diploma. Salary at minimum wage. You so-called taxpayers will then get what you want. Otherwise, think of the cost of a four year degree, the additional expense of paying to student teach, taking all those tests and traveling to take those tests, paying for those tests, then, substitute teaching for a few years which means working one or two days a week. Then, get a teaching job. Would you do all that for the same salary you pay a CNA, who gets free two weeks of training?

    • Ronaldus Magnus

      Who is talking about paying a CNA the same as a teacher? The CNA said she makes $22,000 a year. I am sure it is not for 180 days work yet the teachers make $58,000 on average for only 1800 days work. There are probably quite a few teachers with 30 years experience that make very close to $100,000 a year in salary plus another $30,000 or so in benefits. When these teachers retire in a few years they will make $87,000 per year in a pension.

    • Marie

      Teachers aren’t exempt from paying taxes; therefore, they ARE taxpayers too. Your argument makes no sense. Teachers cannot live in both Fantasyland and the real world. You confuse me with your lack of knowledge and reason.

      • SteveL

        It is not hard to confuse a person with your level of intelligence. I suggest you work on your poor sentence structure and improper use of capital letters while you walk in the picket line with the other union hacks. I wish you well in your journey to both underperform and overcharge.

      • Ronaldus Magnus

        Technically, Teachers do pay taxes but they do not contribute to the general fund because like most government workers they take out much more in salary than they pay back in taxes. They are a net drain on the general fund while private sector workers actually contribute to the tax base.

        If the school district hires 10 teachers at $58,000 each and each of those teachers pays $2300 in taxes does the district have more or less money in the bank than they had before they hired the teachers?

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