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School Board Accepts New Contract Agreement with Teachers

The amended contract slows down salary increases and offers an early retirement incentive to eligible teachers. The move helped the district close the final gap in the 2012-2013 budget.

After months of renegotiations, the Centennial School District and Centennial Education Association came to a new agreement Tuesday night that extends the to 2016 and gives the district better control over the cost of salaries.

The extensions slows down and spreads out the salary increase increments over four years, instead of two, with an dditional .25 percent increase in 2015-2016. According to a release provided by the school district, the renegotiated four year package costs Centennial only the equivalent of two-thirds of one step more than the original two year contract.

“Our membership is more dedicated to academic, athletic and arts excellence than ever,” said Centennial Education Association President Cheryl Tonkinson in a statement to the press.  “We know that tough decisions remain, but the Association very much wanted to be part of the solution."

The agreement also includes an early retirement incentive package for eligible teachers that will pay $10,000 a year for three years into a retirement savings medical account. A maximum of 12 teachers can take advantage of the offer this year by meeting the requirements before July 15, and a maximum of 18 teachers can do the same in June 2013.

School directors Jane Schrader Lynch and Betty Huf disagreed with the retirement incentives, forcing them to oppose the new agreement.

"With the economy the way it is right now," said Lynch, "I just cannot agree with using taxpayer money to create the incentive. It's not fair to the taxpayers."

Centennial Superintendent Dr. Jenny Cressman said the new salary structure and the reduction of a total 21 teachers helped the district reach a for 2012-2013. The school board will vote on the final budget at a special meeting on June 18 at 8:30 p.m.

Despite a 6-2 vote, with director Charles Kleinschmidt abstaining because his daughter works for the district, the board was unanimous in its appreciation for the union's willingness to come back to the table in light of the district's financial struggle.

"This agreement makes it easier for us to go forward," said director Michael Hartline, who called for a total reduction of 55 teachers at a . Hartline also expressed his gratitude for the work performed by Dr. Cressman and Centennial business administrator Chris Berdnik during negotiations.

Director Steve Adams was thankful for the cooperation between the teachers and the school district, implicitly referring to the ongoing turmoil happening in the Neshaminy School District.

According to the district, teachers will continue to pay into their healthcare benefits at increasing dollar amounts for all years of the contract.  Centennial’s rate is based on a formula that results in a premium share of approximately 12 percent for the lower plan for singles to the highest option of an approximate 21 percent premium share for families.

THT June 14, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Concerned - The House Bill 1776 got tabled this past week. Just so you were aware. It will probably never see the light of day. If you are concerned, you should direct your vitriol to the General Assembly.
Carol Ann June 14, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Busing: Every municipality in America claims an easement [right-of-way] along every town and state road. This is at least eight (8) feet wide and provides plenty of room for students to safely walk along. Because I care about my fellow residents, I voluntarily maintain the 8' x 300' township easement along my front yard so, everyone can walk, ride their bikes, jog, walk their dogs, etc. without being forced into the street. ....... In most communities across the USA, school districts are the biggest, most expensive, largest budgeted employment entity and while holding the property owners/townships in their hands, school boards can/should convince property owners to maintain their road frontages. .............. Every time school boards jack our taxes up, they claim, "It's for the children" so, why all the excuses? .......... It's hard for me to grasp that children can wonder all over their neighborhoods to/from their friends' homes, to/from the mall, in & out of every place else, two-by-two and/or in groups on the weekends but Monday to Friday, they must be catered to as toddlers. ...........
Carol Ann June 14, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Teach kids to behave safely and let them learn self confidence and independence. ....... Parents that drive their kids to school are cheating their kids out of learning to grow up with some bit of self-respect/self-reliance. ......... Students that are provided parking spaces on school property are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. ......... About 100 years ago, townships, towns, and cities all across America started passenger train and/or bus systems. Today in almost every community there exists such public transportation. ............ In Pennsylvania, it costs at least $12,000./yr. per student in the public school system. but, since School Property Taxes only average about $4,000./per property, the tax can only go up as expenses increase. ............... This has been a losing battle for property owners ever since one-room schoolhouses were replaced by multi-million dollar campuses.
Carol Ann June 14, 2012 at 08:20 PM
The PTCC has been fighting for several years to get rid of Pennsylvania's School Property Tax. While your mortgage servicer is about to pay $1,000-$9,000 your School Property Tax bill, consider that, for one, your mortgage servicer charges you a monthly fee for collecting and escrolling your taxes, then, there's the tax money being held somewhere while somebody other than you is making money off your money. ......... And, finally, your hard-earned money is being handed over to a school board that will spend it all in the name of "The Children". ........... Just read what I and the PTCC are offering as an alternative BEFORE you decide. www.ptcc.us
Tired of Hypocrisy June 15, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I do not mean to sound disrespectful but with the construction of the new McDonald School, the walking path to the old McDonald is completely blocked off. The children could walk on sidewalks for part of their trip to school but not all the streets have sidewalks or 'walking easements'. The children in the neighborhood have never been bused prior to this year. It is for their safety, not as a means to pamper them. They cannot walk among active bulldozers, dump trucks, electrical trucks, etc., and nor should they be expected to. The CSD decided to build all the new schools, they should have thought about how the children would get to school. I personally have never seen a 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old in our area walking to a mall (it would be about a 10 mile walk) nor to any stores (1 1/2 miles). I do not mind paying taxes for the safe transportation of children to/from schools. I do mind a district that makes decisions that are arrogant and not based on honest studies. There was no need for CSD to rearrange the entire district and displace students and spend much more money than was needed, especially in the time of a recession. They are competing with neighboring districts which is ridiculous.

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