Scranton Teachers Union Rallies Outside Administration Building for New Contracts

SCRANTON, Pa. -- The embattled Scranton School District is faced with more tough times.

First a financial audit by the state. That led to some criminal charges. Now the teachers are taking their ax to grind with the district.

They say they've been working without a contract for two years.

Teachers took to the street to voice their frustration this afternoon.

“What do we want?” yelled teacher Patrick Festa into a megaphone.

“Contract!” shouted the crowd of teachers gathered in front of the Scranton School District’s Administration Building on North Washington Avenue in Scranton.

“When do we want it?” said Festa.

“Now!” teachers answered back.

Armed with megaphones and signs, teachers in the Scranton School District marched outside the district`s administration building in downtown Scranton.

“They don't know what that means, the word negotiate,” said Scranton Federation of Teachers Union President Rosemary Boland. “They don't know what a fair contract means to all of us.”

The teachers union says teachers have been working without a contract for roughly two years and are heading into another school year without any sign a new contract is in the works.

Boland says talks with the school board are going nowhere.

“I believe what we're negotiating with are rookies and they don't even understand the process,” said Boland. “There's a way you do it, there's a way to present your positions and if you decide to withdraw an article, you withdraw it formally, in front of the mediator. We don't see that happening.”

This comes as the district has made numerous cuts to staff and programs as it tries to get financially sound while under watch by the state after a scathing audit.

That state audit led the state attorney general to arrest a mechanic who is accused of overcharging the district thousands of dollars.

“We want our art classes back, we want our chorus and bands back, we want our family and consumer sciences back,” said Festa into the megaphone.

“[Dr. Alexis Kirijan] cut the languages that are offered to our students. She cut the [family and consumer sciences] program. She cut music, she got rid of our libraries, got rid of 16 teachers,” said teacher Dawn Hefner.

Students attending Friday night's football game say their teachers work hard and should be treated better by the district.

“They do things for us that they pay for with their own money and they're teaching us things that they think we need to learn and my teachers are really great,” said Abby Megotz, an eighth grader at Scranton Intermediate School.

“We lost our sewing teacher and she did the ski club and all that and I'm into the ski club and I liked sewing and we just got rid of that,” said Shannon Ryan, another eighth grader at Scranton Intermediate.

Newswatch 16 did reach out to the school district's administration for a comment. We did not hear back.

12 comments

  • 16viewer

    Aw, come on. Don’t be so hard on the teachers. After all, the cost of the payoff to get the job in the first place keeps going up too.

  • Frank The Lunatic

    Here we go yet again — Wah Wah Wah — You complain that you can’t afford to live on the $45k to $75k that you teachers make, and you don’t want to be realistic and live in the real world and pay something into your benefits like all of the other working people do… Why should you get a raise? Last year Scranton ranked the worst in the state educational reports, terrible PSSA scores, and the best is that you say you are doing a good job — If you are doing such a good job, then why did the district had to change its curriculum to make it easier for kids to graduate, by eliminating certain math and history classes and by making Gym optional ? Yeah, great teachers, you have down there in Scranton. it’s amazing that a “hick” area like Western Wayne, has better state rankings, PSSA scores and graduation rates than Scranton does. Wake up people — Make the teachers in the Scranton School District accountable for how poor their students are doing. Don’t reward them for doing less. I can’t even begin to list how many of the HS teachers and Guidance Counselors tell kids that they will amount to nothing.

    • causewhynot124

      First, I would like to express my dearest sympathy to anyone who has ever advised you that being a teacher in an inner city school is ANYTHING like being a teacher in a rural school. The issues that the children of the Scranton area deal with are far more dire than what most students in the Western Wayne area deal with, so yes, their test scores are going to be higher. Also, Western Wayne only services a population of about 19,000. Scranton services about 76,000. Again, of course their test score are going to be DRASTICALLY different. Secondly, most of the teachers DO NOT have input on what the school is going to change as far as the curriculum is concerned. It is not up to them to determine what will or will not end up graduating each student. That’s set by the school board. Again, you’re looking at the wrong people. Lastly, the pay structure is the same in EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN NEPA! These teachers are only fighting for the year pay raise that EVERY TEACHER WITH A CONTRACT IN NEPA GETS EVERY YEAR! Scranton is not an exception to the rule when asking for the pay raise they would get with any other district in NEPA. I’m just sick of hearing about how its the teacher’s fault when they didn’t create ANY of the mess this district is in. You want an interesting story? Look at the superintendent’s history with her prior schools. Its real interesting.

      • 16viewer

        Why not just throw political correctness to the wind and say what you really mean when comparing inner city schools to those in the outlying areas. Inner city schools must contend with a weaker gene pool.

  • Feed Me More

    if you are overweight than you are making enough money for all those calories, you dont need more, time for pay cuts and lower taxes

  • tvviewer44816377

    Boland and the teachers union better not press their luck with such protests for more, more, more.
    The state is poised to come in and take control of the district which will effectively end the union’s extortion of the taxpayers once and for all.

    • Rusty Knyffe

      I completely agree – I’ve typed this numerous times that people should write their own contracts with the assistance of a labor attorney. This, has gotten way, way out of hand. I don’t read that these teachers will strike during the summer months. Just goes to show what selfish %*@^#$ they are and that true education isn’t in their vocabulary. Only “Gibbs me…” (frown emoji inserted)

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