Tunkhannock Area Teachers on Strike

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TUNKHANNOCK -- It's going to a longer Memorial Day weekend for students in part of Wyoming County.

Teachers in the Tunkhannock Area School District hit the picket line outside the administration building Friday morning.

Union members tell us they had an unofficial agreement with the school board to renew their contract, but board members failed to sign off on the agreement during a meeting Thursday night.

"They like working with students. They want to be in the classroom teaching. That's what they do. I've never met a teacher yet that said, 'I want to walk off the job and go on strike.' This agreement is a fair agreement, a reasonable agreement, and it's an affordable agreement," said PSEA regional field director John Holland.

"We're very disappointed because we would rather be in the classroom than doing this," said Christa Burke, President of the Tunkhannock Area Education Association.

The superintendent's office, along with the school board, declined to go on camera, but did issue the following response: "The district believes that there has been progress at the negotiations table and encourages the Tunkhannock Area Education Association to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible. The district desires to provide to the teachers and the taxpayers a fair, feasible, and equitable agreement."

Parents hope to see a resolution soon given how little time there is left in the school year.

"It's difficult on the kids," said Howard Heice of Tunkhannock. "My kids were so disappointed this morning. They want to be in school. My kids enjoy school."

"The kids have some field trips coming up that they were excited to go on that I'm worried about not happening," said Miranda Geertgens of Tunkhannock. Geertgens' day was completely changed because of the strike. The parent of four, who also babysits, was flooded with calls when the strike was announced.

"Usually most of my kids are in school and I babysit and those kids are also in school," she added. "So I'm down to one kid during the day [usually.] And today, I have nine."

As for how long will this strike last,  teacher representatives say they will return to work on Tuesday because the state Department of Education said they don't have any more strike days left if they want to end the school year by June 15.

46 comments

  • NEPA ANTIFA

    Why don’t those in the public sector ever protest for those working in the private sector?
    Why aren’t they protesting at fast food places, stores, and industrial parks?
    Where is the solidarity?

  • pam

    This is so disgraceful. I am a nurse. I would never strike because I care too much about my patients because I want more money.

  • dickman

    Go to school, get a good job, get a raise, get deeper into bad debt for your overlords, little Prussian soilders(puppets). The vicious cycle continues for the unrefined masses and trained(like a dog) employees. Now, roll over.

  • dickman

    A cesspool of slave labor for the 10 % puppet masters, delegators of authority and power brokers. Substandard prospects at best.

  • dickman

    These secondary institutions produce mediocre employees, not independent critical thinkers, entrepreneurs and community leaders. You get what you deserve, crap.

  • dickman

    Most millionaires and entrepreneurs are self taught and critical thinkers. Continue to lag with industrial age 20th century dogma or progress with 21st century information age advancements and ideology. Advancements in technology should yield affordability, along with prosperity. Keep drinking that kool aid and eating that crow, unrefined and gullible masses.

  • dickman

    Cyber school, without the nonessential expenditures of dwellings, salaries, defined benefits plans, other fringe benefits, transportation, support services and miscellaneous overhead is looking better every forthcoming annum.

  • No News Here

    TASD is ranked 262 out of 498 school districts in the state. Sorry teachers union. That doesn’t cut it. No merit, no raises.

  • Tired of teachers whining

    The average salary for teachers in Tunkhannock in 2012-2013 was $60,435 so more than likely this year it’s about $64,000. This is in a town where the median FAMILY income is just over $56,000 and the per capita is only $23,000. Teachers work 9 months a year and for at least 2-3 hours of that time they don’t even have the students there with them. Fire them all and replace them with non union workers.

    • stukes

      Amen, under skilled and over compensated, in the private sector the majority would not qualify as Dog catchers……

  • LAZY SCHOOL TEACHERS!

    As dumb as the students are and teachers want a pay increase, NOW YOU KNOW WHERE THE STUDENTS GET THEIR STUPIDITY FROM!!!

  • BZ22

    The best way to settle these things would be to put them all in the same room and tell them they can’t come out until they’ve reached an agreement. Wouldn’t take both sides long to get down to business and solve this!

  • Classof83grad

    I am a teacher, but not in the Tunkhannock School District although I am a graduate of Tunkhannock. I have to say that as a professional I find some of your comments to be insulting. As some of you have pointed out, we teachers did choose our professions and I like to believe that we did it for the love of learning and wanting to share that with our students. The teachers that I had many years ago made me into the person and teacher that I am today. It is certainly unfortunate that the way teachers are paid is by school taxes because every time taxes go up people blame “these teachers”. If you haven’t noticed, the price of everything goes up every year. How many times have you actually commented…”these lawyers”, “these doctors”, “these dentists”, “these hairstylists” when the prices for their services went up? Or, did you right a letter to P&G complaining about the price of Jif Peanut Butter or to Apple complaining about the cost of the newest Iphone? Probably not. All anyone wants in life is fair treatment, and I think that it is terribly unfair to bash teachers who want a contract. I am sure that you wouldn’t want them to treat you children that way.

    • Jared

      “Or, did you RIGHT a letter” “I am sure that you wouldn’t want them to treat YOU children that way”. And you’re a teacher?

      • Classof83grad

        Oh Jared. Dear self righteous, holier than thou Jared. I said that I was a teacher, I never said that I don’t make mistakes. Of course I meant YOUR children, but in this case if you would like to act like a child, perhaps I was talking to you. And again, thank goodness that I don’t treat my students the way that you are responding to me.

      • Classof83GRAD

        Jared, you are RIGHT…messing up right/write is inexcusable – my apologies for multi-tasking and not proofreading efficiently.

    • Tim

      You have a choice when purchasing products and services. Nobody has their home auctioned off for not being able to afford a new Iphone.

    • No News Here

      Dear Miss Teacher But Not At TASD:

      TASD is ranked 262 out of 498 districts in the state. Tell us again how your peers are there for the love of learning and helping mold academically proficient young adults? Sorry, their performance in the classroom does not earn them the right to be picketing outside of the classroom. It is typical union strong-arm tactics. By the way, the reason the lawyers, hair stylists, and such raise their prices is because their school taxes keep going up to pay your ridiculous benefits.

  • FracingA

    Superintendent should be capped @ $85k/year period….then principals, teachers, etc. to follow on downward. Educators should be paid well but not upper class by any means. Teach, educate, giving back is what that profession is about. Heck IDK maybe this only saves 1 MILLION DOLLARS, says Austin Powers..but it’s a start of a budget. YES, blame Obama for healthcare debacle. I always had a bunch of money put away for a rainy day but now that money goes towards deductibles if & when needed. Healthcare is expensive & the real healthy are paying most of that tab. Back to the strike, nepotism & politics rule sadly. Luzerne County is king & now it’s spreading to Wyoming & other areas. The most eduacated & qualified are usually not your kids’ current teachers. Those most qualified had no choice but to move on to be a Trooper, P&G tech, etc. It is always difficult to smash thru these cliques that run our educations system. Home schooling your kids might be the only answer in killing this drama. Entitlement & Greed is slowly destroying our great country.

  • Class of 2012 Grad

    While there is a debate on if the teachers union was asking was a bit too much, its a fact that our school administration is highly corrupt… If I went to that board meeting, I wouldve definitely brought up about the multi-million dollar expense for the replacement football stadium lights that got approved when I still went to high school. I’m sure theres tons of other USELESS expenses in the budget that couldve saved the teachers and the taxpayers money. This will all come from the taxpayers all thanks to our corrupt school board and corrupt superintendent. $8.5 million budget people, think about it. For a school this size, take into account maintenance, technology fees, taxes, and of course the number one priority, payroll. NOT TO MENTION $500K PAYCHECK GAS ROYALTY FROM PROPERTY THEY OWN THAT IS BEING DRILLED FOR GAS. Lets say the average teacher makes $50,000 a year and factor in the 3% raise. Their salary will equal to +$1500~$51,500 a year gross. Lets also take for example how many teachers can be paid out of that $500k INCOME FOR OWNING LAND. The should pay for 9.7 teachers, probably MORE cause we are not taking into account of taxes that uncle sam gets. 9.7 teachers for doing NOTHING AND OWNING LAND (FREE MONEY). Now I’m an engineering major, not an economics major.. I did and thought of this all in my head in a matter of minutes. Instead of you people just complaining and being lazy… Do some simple math and realize. TUNKHANNOCK AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS A CORRUPT ADMINISTRATION THAT RUNS IN LIKE A MAFIA. That is all, thank you.

    • Tom

      With your atrocious grammar and lack of coherency you should be ashamed to say you are a 2012 graduate of the school district. If you are a result of the work of the school district you just blew the teachers case.

      • Class of 2012 Grad

        I’m sorry, am I actually working for Newswatch 16 as a journalist??? If you refuse to listen to what I have to say based on a few punctuation errors and capitalization for emphasis…kindly step off. I did some math to SHOW you some numbers. I am a result of the work of B+ calculus in high school, a 3.3 average at Penn State University for Electrical Engineering. If you want to question my intelligence. I would gladly love to show you some projects I have been working on at school… coding instructions for a satellite we are launching, creating circuits that base around accelerometers, gyroscopes, and pressure sensors to measure force, acceleration, and roll rate. Step off and educate yourself.

      • Class of 2012 Grad

        You people are a disgrace to society. Down-voting my comments based on that idiot questioning my intelligence. Go ahead, disagree with whats happening you are only making it worse. Most of you probably dont even contribute to society, just commenting on your computers collecting your welfare checks. Well guess what… I’m going to make more money than all of you combined. One day i’ll be working at Microsoft and its all thanks to Tunkhannock Area and the electronics classes I took there. Goodbye and good luck you idiots.

      • teachers pet my privates

        here we go with an english/grammar insult on the internet

        u shut up tom, cuz u aint makn no cents

        c wat im sayn

        who cares

  • momma41106

    The worst part about this is the lack of communication..if it wasn’t for an unofficial fb page and an e-mail (which i am signed up to receive text, calls, and e-mails) some parents would not have been informed. It is 830am and i still have yet to receive a call.

  • Sissy

    I’m in 10th and I go to that school I’m very disappointed in this strike. We are at the point were we need school we need to get our work finished. Why can’t they strike when we get out

    • momma41106

      A strike during summer would have no effect is why…I am sorry, my son is in 3rd grade and with the early start to next year and now this you kids don’t have much of a summer break

    • student, TAHS 2016

      What would be the purpose of striking after the job is done? If they strike during the summer, why would the school board take action? Striking after school is over won’t do anything.

  • Al

    why do they need a contract makes no sense they are still getting paid right, they just want more money and get free health insurance must be nice. they picked there job just like everyone else..

    • CJ Buttermilk

      Yeah Al they did pick there job like everyone else. It’s funny the news forgot to mention they haven’t had a contract in 4-5 years. And All the teachers agreed to take a pay freeze the whole time because the district was going down the tubes.

      A side note… The administration for the life of them cannot get there head out of you know what. How does every other district in the area get by with there budget and this school can’t? If I was smart with numbers I would love to help but I’m just not qualified to make decisions that’s needed. The sad part is the people (administration) think they are and can’t admit there horrible at it.

      The ring leader (superintendent)is ok thou he’s banking $120k a year of our tax money. Plus he gets a raise every year along w entire admin. But nobody mentions that. Ha. 120k year to pretty much fail. Sign me up for that job!!!

      Ps. Teachers do NOT get free healthcare

  • CJ Buttermilk

    Ohh here we go.. All the uninformed, unintelligent narrow minded people have to post there comments about thoes greedy teachers. If is such a cake and easy job. How come you didn’t go to school to be one? You all should be kissing your kids teacher feet each and every day. The crap they have to put up day in and day out would make some of you lose your mind. So the next idiot who posts that the teachers are overpaid,have free healthcare, crazy benefits, and only work 9 months a year. Check your facts because you sound like a moron. I can admit I couldn’t handle the job. I would lose my cool in about 1hr dealing with some of thoes so called troubled kids. Some of you people need to wake up!!
    The board proposed the contract and then voted against it. Do you seriously think the teachers wanted to strike with what ..2-3 weeks left of school?

    • teachers pet my privates

      now that you mention it, they don’t get free health care, it’s paid for by the tax payers

      it should be illegal for teachers to strike during school, if anyone else kept children out of school that long they would be fined

      no child left behind unless its for the over paid over pensioned, health care for their whole family child touchin teachers

      ps: health care isn’t free when it paid for by the taxpayers

      • CJ Buttermilk

        Know what chief. Take your kids out of school and home school them. Your better off. You know what’s best for them. Don’t pay your taxes either. Let me know how you make out with that. Let me guess? Your in the Tunk school board. Because that’s how some of them exactly sound

  • Homeschool bound

    Wake up teachers!! Little- to no-out-of-pocket expense for healthcare these days is UN HEARD OF! Medical professionals are paying more for healthcare than you are. How is that right?! Stop expecting a silver platter.

  • Gimmee More

    The proposal that was voted down included a 3% cost of living increase, no increase in health care contributions, and a total of $2.9 million in retroactive pay increases. A sweet deal for the teachers. Those of us in the real world who work twelve months a year and pay their salaries could only dream of such an anachronistic arrangement.

    • CJ Buttermilk

      Sweet deal?!?! Yeah there asking for the money they are owed. Like I said they took a pay freeze for the past 5 years so the district can get back on their feet. (2.9mil) Same thing Tom Brady did so they can afford better players. That money is theirs that they deserve.

      But I know us that work in the so called “real world” would be fine if we just took a pay freeze right now and make they same amount until we retire. Get real. And if you say you would your full of it.
      So say what you want. I’m a taxpayer for this school and my kid is not even in school yet. Every time I see that tax bill I do the same as everyone else Ugggh! But guess what? I want my money to go to the right people. If by some chance we can attract and retain the best teachers for my kid I’m all for it!!!

      • parent

        I as a tax payer and a parent have no problem with our teachers getting a cost of living raise like the rest of us but if they agreed to a pay freeze for a certain number of years they should not be able to change their mind now and ask for what they previously agreed not to take.

    • BZ22

      There are at least three sides to every story, especially in these situations, and we didn’t get one complete one in this report!

  • S Arndt

    6:10 am and still no official word from the district….what a slap in the face to parents!

    • parent

      We received both a telephone call and an email from the school at 9:26pm Thursday night as soon as the meeting was over.

    • me

      How is this selfish? I do hope you mean the board members. The teachers are striking because the BOARD voted down their own attentive agreement.

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