Strike Looms at Second District in Susquehanna County

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NEW MILFORD TOWNSHIP -- In Susquehanna County, teachers in Blue Ridge School District picketed a board meeting Monday night.

Montrose Area and Blue Ridge are neighboring school districts. Teachers in Montrose Area are on strike and in a few weeks, Blue Ridge teachers could be as well.

Teachers stood outside before the Blue Ridge School board meeting handing out fliers and walking with signs.

They've been working without a contract and say if they don't get one by April 25, they're going on strike.

“It's been a long five years. We haven't had any raises. We've been paying into our healthcare, 10 percent at premium. We just want a fair contract and for this to be over,” said Blue Ridge Education Association President Tricia Gilboy.

More than 100 teachers in neighboring Montrose Area began striking last week. The major sticking point between them and school leaders is salaries. In Blue Ridge, it's health care costs.

“Both districts are being advised by the same firm, doing their negotiations, and I think they're getting bad advice in all honesty. That firm promises savings, but at what cost? That firm does not consider how that affects the community. The students are remarkably resilient. Studies have shown the strike won't harm students, but the community itself, that's where the harm can happen,” said PSEA Representative Jim Maria.Montrose Area school officials say

Montrose Area school officials say they're shocked teachers decided to strike during negotiations. They say they simply can't afford the salary hikes teachers want.

Blue Ridge school board members say union members in their district refuse to compromise.

"We may not pay as much as other districts pay their teachers, but when you look at the average salary of our constituents, they're $40,000 to $45,000. The average pay of our teachers is around $55,000, so I think the board feels they are well compensated,” said Blue Ridge School Board President Christopher Lewis.

Teachers and school leaders in Blue Ridge have a negotiation session scheduled for April 12.

As for Montrose Area, that strike is ongoing and may continue into next week.

"I just think it's sad. I mean, we're your front line. We're the ones who take care of your kids and Montrose wants a fair contract, too,” said Gilboy.

There hasn't been a strike in the Blue Ridge School District in more than 35 years.

28 comments

  • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

    “Teachers have it so easy” is the typical response of someone who has no clue as to what teachers do, what they are held accountable for and totally no clue as to what is going on with education in America, but it is easy to get an opinion out of your butt.
    How do you really say that some of the highest educated people in the area are over paid? If you want to complain about where tax payer money is going, go picket Montrose Welfare offices! I know I’m tired over working 40 hours a week to support people you never tried it! No, I’m not a teacher, just educated about the problems.

  • typical liberal dope

    here’s a new contract…..double healthcare costs to 20% and cut pay by 10%…..teachers have it so easy they make me sick

  • David Andrews

    Of course you’re upset at increased health insurance costs. So am I. It would seem more logical to me to voice your concerns with the folks that caused the dramatic increase. That would not be me or any other County taxpayer. I’m working half days Saturday now to cover my additional costs. Should I work 7 days a week so I can cover yours as well? Or should you do like the rest of us and figure it out on your own? When I need more money I find better paying work or do more of it. I don’t demand that my neighbors pay it for me.

  • hah

    CRY BABIES, THEY SHOULD REALLY STAY QUIET BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO SALARIES, WHEN THEY DO THEY WILL REVOLT, 55K IS ALREADY TOO HIGH FOR PART YEAR. WHEN YOU HAVE A GOOD THING GOING, ROCKING THE BOAT CAN GET YOU THROWN INTO THE WATER…….

    • Bleepnoid

      What a stupid remark. Do you have any idea the microscope a teacher lives under? Do some homework, then make a comment. Are you even capable of reading your high school diploma?

      • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

        Are you referring to the fact that teachers can be physically assaulted at work, yet not allowed to defend themselves? Or that the public has an issue with teachers having a beer or glass of wine while at to dinner?? I’m sure a lot of Susquehanna county would think that is wrong, yet heroin is in full demand! Are you talking about the fact that teachers work from 8am to 3:30pm on site 180 days a year……forget about all the work they do at home and additional education classes they take during the summer….. Oh,wait….you must be starting a conversation about how teachers must memorize the IEPs of all the students and follow them to the letter or face a law suit, even when they know the real issue is poor parenting? The list of gravy train topics goes on and on and on…… but the local gas station clerks and shelf stockers know best…..DON’T THEY!? What a blissful life it is to be UN-educated.

  • rnasca

    In 2014, 41 Blue RIdge School District students took the SAT exams. The District’s Verbal Average Score was 476. The Math average score was 478. The Writing average score was 441.Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing. The Blue Ridge teachers essentially want a raise for teaching students who under perform their peers on both the state and national level.

    • CJ

      Blaming the teacher is always the easy way out. How many of these children are encouraged by their parents to apply themselves to achieve good grades? Test scores are not the result of the teachers ability only.

    • Cassie

      According to these numbers, it appears that the entire state needs improvement. Maybe the problem isn’t limited to one or two schools in Susquehanna county.

    • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

      I would love to land a job in a good community where parents supported teachers, expected the students to EARN their grades, (NOT JUST GET 65’ed THROUGH) and drug abuse was not a daily fact, but that just ISN’T Susquehanna County, now is it?

  • magicmikexxsm

    Strike Looms at Second District in Susquehanna County…………………

    Wow more greedy Teacher…poor babies, they are mad because they have to pay 10% towards their healthcare cost, on a 55k salary….Hey teachers try paying $800 bucks every month for myself and a wife, on a 35k salary a year..Come on teachers walk in my shoes for a month…Just 2 years ago it was $400 less , but then along came obamataxcare, and most of you fools will vote for Hillary the liar, or a commie…..FDR was against these types of unions in gov’t,and he was right, they hold the taxpayers hostage…

    • Bleepnoid

      Wait a minute. You make $35k a year? With a college degree, 14 weeks of internship, and annual college courses? Of course not. Most likely, a high school diploma and in retail, because you have no training. Is it fair that Sheetz starts at $9.15 an hour, yet, the assistant manager at AT&T makes $8?

      • magicmikexxsm

        BLEEPNOID you’re an idiot, never said I went to college, was in the military, and I’m very well trained at my job, in fact you stooges come to me for advice, and no I make well above the new proposed $15 hr min for stupid people like you……lol liberals think they know everything…

      • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

        It is easy for him to talk crap when he has no idea how hard teacher worked to EARN that degree, then continue their education. Look, its ok for him to make an uneducated $50k, but he just doesn’t want teacher to make it after going to college. Student teaching for 15 weeks UNPAID while then getting a bill for $15K because the called it a 12 credit course….Hmmmm, I think I worked for 15 weeks to earn – $15K, but I’m sure he has a line for that.

    • Cassie

      Mike – you do a lot of complaining about your station in life. What avenues have you taken to improve the situation? Have you continued with higher education? Searched for a better employment position with better benefits? It seems to me that unless everyone makes the same salary and pays the same healthcare costs that you do, you will not be happy. Perhaps we could limit all salaries to $35K/year. That would certainly help boost the economy. Try self-improvements before complaining about everyone else situation in life.

  • Terrie D'Angelo Audi

    Did the new PSEA union negotiatorJim Maria actually make the absurd claim that the teachers in Montrose and Blue Ridge school districts are going out on strike because the schools are being given bad legal advice? The legal counsel in these districts has not changed in a number of years, but Jim Maria is a new PSEA negotiator for both these districts and it is his advice which pushed the teachers to strike for the first time in 35 years. The teachers should send Mr. Maria packing– an action that would help settle contracts like they have in the past.

    • John Phoenix

      Terri, while I agree…you dont get to make these comments when you have the same last name as the attorney in question. We can do it for you.

      • Terrie D'Angelo Audi

        As a citizen I get to comment on any political issue out there, but I especially feel the compulsion to comment when members of my family are absurdly and unfairly singled out by PSEA as causing a teachers strike, especially when the attorney who is criticized has saved the districts tens of thousands of dollars over the years by winning arbitrations and insisting on contract language favorable to the taxpayers.

      • ImAReader

        How did those ‘cost saving measures’ and ‘successful arbitration’ tactics work out for the IU?

        You should tell your family member to stop draining the districts of legal fees by dragging out these negotiations at $195/hour.

      • John Phoenix

        I agree Terri…these people are clowns. They don’t understand that is the typical going rate for an attorney. Last I checked the district has made an outstanding offer, and this is being dragged out by the BREA.

      • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

        If lawyers gave a crap about society they would change the OBVIOUS problems, not just make money off it. From Education to Family Court and everything in between, they are just “Ambulance Chasers”.

      • Terrie D'Angelo Audi

        But its okay for all the Montrose and Blue Ridge teachers who will get a financial windfall from their strikes to comment in favor of this article while hiding behind pseudonyms, multiple yikes!!!!

      • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

        I don’t work for either, or even a school district, but I do know that education is what supports the future of this country, people need to either start supporting teachers or stop having children. I mean, where do you think they go from age 5 to 18???? I believe in this country and would like to see it have a future, but without good teachers, SUPPORTED BY ADMINISTRATION AND THE COMMUNITY, we are all Fubared. We have enough stupid out there. Lets add to the educated and driven, stop pandering to the lazy and “special” just to get funding. Many GREAT teachers walk away from the BS tactics, pay discrimination, government propaganda and government interference. What have lawyers done for education???? Messed it up with crazy lawsuits and removed common sense! All in the name of …..well, much more than $50K a year……….. so…….. how do you rationalize such high hourly billing (WIN OR LOSE), yet you say teachers are over paid?????? I guess we common folk just don’t get it because we don’t live in them there lawyer houses.

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