AHEA, district’s negotiating committee to meet Nov. 29 to talk teachers’ contract

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com
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CLARKS SUMMIT — The Abington Heights Education Association (AHEA) and members of the district’s negotiating committee continue to meet in order to discuss proposals for a new teachers’ contact.

According to AHEA President Tim Moher, the teachers’ union made a modification to its proposal during a meeting Oct. 23 in hopes of bringing the sides closer to a deal.

“We feel like we put a very good proposal on the table,” Moher said. “We offered a potential change to our health care, which was the provider of our pharmacy plan and that would save the district at least $300,000 – which ends up being more money than they were requesting through a premium share. We thought that would really move the ball and get us close to a settlement. We haven’t received a formal response from the district, so we’re awaiting their response at the next meeting Nov. 29.”

Abington Heights Superintendent of Schools Michael Mahon said the district received the proposal, but is awaiting further details.

“They proposed a change in their prescription plan, but there were no numbers or details,” he said. “When we spoke at the last meeting, we presented some questions to the union that we would like to have answered. My sense is that we’re going to work cooperatively together to better understand the implications of the union’s proposal.”

The AHEA plans to strike for a second time Jan. 2 if a new teachers’ contract isn’t reached by that date.

Clarks Summit resident Helene Magnotta addressed the board with concerns regarding food preparation and overall cleanliness in the district’s schools during a regular meeting Nov. 15.

“On numerous occasions, I’ve heard that the basics aren’t being done in classrooms, including emptying the waste baskets and pencil sharpeners, or wiping off tables,” Magnotta said. “Also, more than once, milk was sold beyond the (expiration) date.”

According to Mahon, the district employs a mix of subcontracted employees from GCA Services and district employees in the custodial department.

“We had our quarterly meeting with GCA Services a few weeks ago and they are acutely aware of these issues,” Abington Heights Business Manager James Mirabelli said. “They have highlighted some areas of concern and changed schedules.”

Members of the board approved a resolution to start a Special Olympics Unified Sports program at the high school.

The program will allow individuals with disabilities to participate in a unified co-ed team for track and field alongside their typically developing peers.

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By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.