There’s may be movement in the 5-year-old stalemate between the Neshaminy School District and its teachers union. After years of unsuccessful negotiations, some are optimistic another vote on the latest contract offer could be successful.
For Neshaminy parents and students, each year is like their own personalized episode of “Groundhog Day,” the film in which the same thing keeps happening over and over. The years of unsuccessful contract negotiations in the district have prompted teachers strikes, fear of more teachers strikes, and debates about benefits, budgets, and the impact of interrupting a child’s education.
“The teachers held a vote last week and we came up 41 votes short of a majority in order to pass it,” said Ritchie Webb, president of the Neshaminy Board of School Directors. “Some of the teachers felt that, if they held it in school, which is what they normally do, during the normal work day, they would have a much higher percentage of people to vote (and) that the outcome would have been different.”
Webb said teachers may be moving toward approving what he believe is an adequate contract, because it’s been such a long, drawn-out affair. He said it’s important for Neshaminy teachers to have a contract that compensates them well and resolves labor tensions.
“We have offered them the most lucrative contract … the exact same contract that Council Rock School District, which is … arguably the best school district certainly in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area,” Webb said. “They feel that probably that’s an adequate contract and we certainly do.”
“Right now we’ve conducted a fair vote and we’re committed to the process of moving forward and negotiating,” said Anne Schmidt, vice president of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers
Schmidt said she would like to have the contract dispute resolved before next school year. She said negotiations are scheduled to continue in June.