Neshaminy teachers again walk the picket line

Teachers in the Neshaminy School District in Bucks County again were walking picket lines Monday in the longest school stalemate in Pennsylvania in decades.

This dispute has dragged on for so long that signs supporting both the teachers and the Neshaminy school board dot the lawns of homes throughout the area.

“They are in their fourth year of being without a contract,” said Ted Kirsch of the American Federation of Teachers in Pennsylvania, the parent union of the one representing Neshaminy educators.

Over the life of the contract dispute, teachers have “worked to contract” for brief periods–meaning they would not do anything not explicitly spelled out in the contract.

The teachers and the school board have been arguing over how much they should contribute to their health insurance. Neshaminy teachers now don’t contribute anything to their premiums. The union says its members could pay 8 percent. The school district wants them to pay 15 percent.

Pennsylvania requires teacher strikes to end when they threaten a full 180 days of education. This walkout could run a few weeks before then.

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