OJR Teachers Demand Contract

February 7, 2013 – In The News
Reporter of the Spring-ford Area

Teachers in the Owen J. Roberts School District have been working without a contract since July 1, 2012 despite nearly a year of negotiations with the school board.

At a board meeting on January 28, 2013 Roberts Education Association President Steve Raught read a prepared statement asking the board to provide teachers with a new contract. In his statement Raught claimed that the teacher’s overall health care package is worse than that of almost every other district in the state.

Attorney Mark Fitzgerald, who is representing the board during negotiations disagrees with the teachers’ union claims and insists that the board has in fact made proposals to increase salaries.

“The health care within the contract is very competitive when compared with plans in other districts in the country,” Fitzgerald said during a phone interview. “And the board has made proposals to increase contributions to the REA.”

Fitzgerald pointed out that the current health care package was approved by the teachers’ union when the last contract was settled two years ago, and he maintained that “there was an increased contribution by the district at the start of that contract.”

Despite the fact that the board and teachers union have thus far remained polarized on key items, both Raught and Fitzgerald said they are optimistic that a contract will be reached.

“I do believe that, while there are sticking points, the parties will certainly get to an agreement,: said Fitzgerald. “Multiple bargaining sessions are planed, and I hope we are getting closer to a settlement.”