Pa. teachers union head willing to consider pay freeze

    The president of Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union says its locals should consider a one-year pay freeze. Gov. Tom Corbett called for the freeze in his budget address after proposing to slash $1 billion in funding from public education.

    Pennsylvania State Education Association president James Testerman said the union wants to avoid forcing local districts to cut kindergarten, sports and guidance counselors.

    “We’re very, very concerned that things like full-day kindergarten, that have made a huge difference for our students, are going to be cut when the governor’s budget, if it is passed, becomes law,” said Testerman.

    PSEA represents about 500 school districts throughout the state. For those that already have contracts in place, both the locals and the districts would have to agree to renegotiate.

    Rob Broderick, the PSEA communications director for locals in the southeastern region, said many of the union locals have already agreed to full freezes or partial freezes.

    “And most of the local associations around here in the last few years have agreed to lesser health-care plans and are paying more for their health-care plans that are not as good as the ones they had five or 10 years ago,” he said.

    The president of Philadelphia’s teachers union, which is not associated with PSEA, said his members have already agreed to a pay freeze in the last contract and would not consider another one.

    PSEA underwrites WHYY coverage in Harrisburg.

     

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