Montrose Area Teachers Strike: By The Numbers

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MONTROSE — More than 100 teachers walked off the job in Montrose Tuesday morning after not being able to reach a contract agreement.

They have been working under the terms of an old contract that ran out last August.

Salary is the main sticking point, but they still make more than teachers in many neighboring districts.

State figures show the average yearly salary of a Montrose Area teacher is $66, 664. That’s $8,000 a year more than the average teacher in our region makes.

Some people in Montrose say the striking teachers make too much to go on strike.

Montrose Area teachers average almost eight percent more than their counterparts in Susquehanna, Bradford, and Wyoming Counties.

Montrose teachers earn an average of 13 percent more than teachers in the WNEP viewing area, and they make seven percent more than the average teacher in Pennsylvania as a whole.

“Salary is just one of the reasons why we’re out here,” said Teri Evans, Montrose Education Association president.

Evans says teachers pay a higher percentage of their health insurance.

“There are some districts that are not paying a thing, and good for that teachers’ union.  We have been paying into ours for the past 16 years.”

“Teachers are worth a lot of money in this district,” said Kerry Patton.

Patton is married to a teacher. But in the wake of the natural gas slump, Patton says teachers are asking for too much.

“This is not an economy that is going to be able to sustain what they’re seeking in salary increases.”

“Money-wise, it makes me a little upset at some of the stuff they do,” said Montrose resident Francine Geertgens.

But the head of the teachers’ union says it’s about results, not about times on the track, but tests in the classroom.

“Montrose has a reputation of being a terrific school.  And we’ve earned that reputation by our fantastic AP test scores, our PSSA exams, our Keystone test scores,” said Evans.

That $66,000 average salary in Montrose places them in the top 13 percent of teachers in our area and top 28 percent of teachers in Pennsylvania.

25 comments

  • joe1227

    heard they only pay 1% of healthcare. Cry a bit more. Heard more than half make 70,000 or more. Your right I can’t imagine living on that.

  • NEPA Citizen

    I’ve been following a lot of these strikes across the counties of our state and they are each unique and eerily similar at the same time. The school districts are different, administration is different, the school board is different, student population is different, union and union representation is different, but one thing remains the same and it is John Audi. I found this interesting, so I decided to look into it and I was amazed at how many of these “troubled districts” Audi represents (you should look into it). His strategy is the same for all of these cases and although I don’t agree with his tactics, I can’t argue that it doesn’t work. He offers to help districts in their contract negotiations and guarantees that he’ll save them money. His secret? Don’t negotiate at all (or at least throw something crazy out there and hope the teachers accept it). This works because it freezes the contract which means the teachers don’t receive their raises (administration still receives all raises and bonuses, but that’s another argument) for as long as they continue to go without a contract, ask Northeast Bradford about that one. As a school district, in a state that could barely pass a budget, how could you refuse such an easy way to save money? It gets better. But John, what if the teacher’s start to see this pattern of non-negotiating that’s been going on and decide to strike? So what? Let them take the heat from the community (scroll up for evidence) and it’ll be their problem to deal with, not ours. If anything the community will be more angry with the teachers and they’ll be more likely to accept a bad contract. Win-win for the school board and administration….until a contract is finally reached and they need to give the teachers some of their retroactive pay. No the teachers won’t get it all and they know that and I’m assuming that most of you will argue that they shouldn’t get any, but I don’t really care what side of that you’re on. The fact remains that the amount the district will have to pay back at that point will cut deep into their budget. This puts strain on the administrators, community members, teachers, and most importantly the kids. Wait, what about John? Oh he’s long gone by now because he got paid long ago, but you might be able to follow the stray money he left behind when he ran out of your district and left your community with the mess to deal with. I apologize (not really- I tried to make it semi-entertaining) for the rant and I’m not telling you which side teachers-or-administration to support. I’m just warning you that your community is being split by someone behind the scenes and you are taking it out on the people who have the most direct contact with the students. All I’m saying is think about it…

  • Viewer

    Teachers work not only 8-3. They spend countless hours outside of school planning lessons, grading, communicating with parents, and donating their time to extracurricular activities and events. They often stay late or go the extra mile to help a student succeed. In addition, teachers have to pay for ongoing education as required by the state. Most teachers obtain a Master’s degree or equivalent. In a reasonable work environment, higher education yields higher pay. Every work environment, like every school district, is different. I am not sure why teachers incur so much negativity, not just for striking but in general. They are responsible for educating future generations. Shoud that not merit the compensation it is worth? Also, teachers who strike are showing a strong resolve despite the scrutiny they endure. They fight to achieve their goals – not a bad quality to have. I will end this discourse by pointing out that reported statistics are vague and can be, with minor alterations, stray from neutral ground to influence (or cater to) public opinion. We are all people just trying to make it the best way we can in this world.

  • Guest

    Teachers, like these, need to take a step back and realize just how good they have it. They get: paid vacations, summers off, holidays off, no on-call hours, healthcare, a pension, and job security (thanks to unions). Please, let’s stop pretending teaching is an awful job. Every job has it’s challenges. That said, there are no shortage of students majoring in education in college because it’s really a very safe profession.

    • typical middle eastern dope

      those who can do, those who can’t teach. Being a teacher is the easiest job out there and it’s not even close.

    • NEPA Citizen

      I’m not sure that they have it great, but you have a point that they don’t have it terrible either. You stated many of the positives that go along with teaching, but you fail to mention some of the negatives as well. Its a tough position to be in since they are the easiest targets for members of the community to take their frustration out on. Your last point is a little of base since many colleges are experiencing a shortage in teacher enrollment programs. The public won’t see the full effect of that though for a couple more years.

  • Phil

    I’m a parent in the district and I’m telling you,they are way overpaid.Anyone who’s had to deal with the teachers or administration will tell you that.

  • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

    All the blame for children goes towards the teachers, but never the PARENTS who keep popping them out.

    • E

      Is that Coalminer-ese for ” you feel overcrowding in the classroom is the problem with education and it’s your opinion the parents are at least partially responsible”? Or how you put it, “popping them out”. How eloquent. Ha ha ha!

  • back to the shaft my young lads

    The teachers should be getting a cut in pay. If you or I failed at our job we would be paid less or more likely fired. Our teachers are not performing to their paid standards. Our children of nepa are all stupid. Coal mine education levels.

    • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

      Scumbag parents who are drug addicts. Oh, but having a community of heroin addicts who speak poorly of teachers is a great way to raise students.

      • E

        Wow you were clearly offended by the coal miner comment. Lol. I bet you’re the type of NEPA local who gets angry when you come across someone who is in a better life position than you. Lol. I can hear it now “anybody better than me or worse than me gets an aggressive comment”. Typical local with coal miner heritage ha ha! Why don’t you try and defend yourself by bragging that you keep your grass mowed, or maybe you think you’re a decent person because you created a child with another “local”. :)

    • NEPA Citizen

      I’m not sure I’d call all of the kids in our area “stupid.” I guess it would come down to what you’re comparing them to? I’m going to assume (I know, I know) you are referring to the steep drop in PSSA scores (statewide), but at that point I think we need to consider the standards we holding our students to. If that’s the case we should look at our state and ask if they are doing what’s in the best interest for our students.

  • magicmikexxsm

    Montrose Area Teachers Strike: By The Numbers………………………………..
    Wow what a bunch of selfish uncaring money grabbing teacher……Boo Hoo you have to pay a portion of your healthcare, and what percentage is that pray tell?????? one of you teachers please enlighten us………..
    Try living in my shoes, 35.5k a year plus I have to pay for my obamataxcare myself..then my wife makes 12.k on SS only to go do my taxes and be told “oh you make to much so the IRS taxes a percentage of my wife’s 12.5k a year….talk about BS, and you teachers have the gall b-tch and moan…….you know FDR was against unions like yours, for this very same reason, you are terrorist holding the tax payers hostage.

    • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

      Im surprised that the two of you make so little after putting so much time and money into your Masters and Doctorate Degrees………. If your wife makes $12K a year on SS, I’m betting she never worked much. How much time did the two of you spend letting the rest of us support you??? I just got my taxes done and I get to pay for the county’s best again, in high taxes.

      • magicmikexxsm

        THE TRUTH YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR…………………..
        Hey stupid my wife is disabled, so shove that up your blow hole…..my wife is a strong smart college educated women..I’d like to see you do a month in her shoes…..you must be one of them their teachers from the story…..As for me I used to have a better job making about 50k a year, until the obama economy and obamataxcare forced the company I worked for to down size, so I took the best job I could get to pay the bills, oh an news flash, I have only been on unemployment 1 im my very long working career…….so idiot don’t be so quick to knock on someone…at least I’m not a greedy teacher living off the tax payer dime…stupid …….lol fools like you come to me everyday for help, and you don’t even know it.

      • just saying.....

        You seem to take great offense that someone would stereotype you based on what you make but then you do the same about teachers? hypocrite much????? I will not make a judgement about your life, but simply will say that at your current salary, you basically pay minimal federal,state and local tax. so you are complaining about tax dollars that you pay, when in reality you probably don’t pay much. Let me state again this is not a personal attack just a statement of fact taking out any emotion. Just so you know…..the average starting salary for a teacher in NEPA is about 34,000 per year, not much more than your salary. The average cost of a 4 year degree ranges from 60,000 to 120,000. That amounts to about 750-1,000 per month in student loans. So I guess that 34,000 isn’t really that much after all considering you have all those other expenses that come with supporting yourself. but hey….them teachers are just greedy money grabbers. yiu should be more offended by the money the state wastes on other useless things then what they pay teachers to educate and better the next generation of our country.

    • Jane

      Shoulda went to college. I’m sure if they are putting up with your children every day it’s earned!

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