SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP -- It was a contentious school board meeting Wednesday night as the Abington Heights School District is now seven days into a teachers strike.
But in a surprise announcement by the union president, he says teachers will return to class on Friday.
So why are parents still upset?
“I am choosing to leave tonight on a positive note, return to our homes and prepare for work on Friday. I thank you for your time,” said Abington Heights Education Association President Tim Moher.
After delivering that message to the Abington Heights School Board, Moher and his union members promptly walked out of the school board meeting.
This board meeting comes just over a week into a teachers strike.
While the strike could have lasted until October 2, Moher told the board, “I'm happy to announce that our members will be returning to work this Friday, September 22.”
The high school auditorium erupted into applause.
Moher says negotiations with the board will continue, and he delivered a warning.
“We're notifying the district that as of January 2, 2018, we will return to the picket line again unless they come to the table between now and then and negotiate with us fairly,” Moher said as the applause quickly turned to yelling.
The union and the school district are sparring over salary increases and teacher contributions to health care.
Parents and taxpayers at the meeting overwhelmingly supported the board.
“PSEA and AHEA leaders, you come and make demands that are outdated, not viable or sustainable and unreasonable considering the state of health care and yet you persist,” said Robin Domenio of Clarks Green.
“What they would pay a year in health care for their entire family, I pay in one month for myself," said JoAnn Galideri of Clarks Summit.
Most just wanted school to resume.
“Please get our kids back in school. My kids are driving me absolutely and they need to be in school, thank you,” said Sarah Dawgert of Clarks Summit.
There is another negotiating session Thursday between the district and the teachers union, but the plan is for Abington Heights teachers to be back in class on Friday.