UPDATE: Chambersburg teachers urge school board to 'aggressively negotiate' before Nov. 13 strike

Salary, planning time and involuntary transfers are topics of negotiation

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A teacher's impact can last a lifetime, but according to Chambersburg educators, their ability to shape minds could be compromised by the school board's proposed contract for the 2018-19 school year.

Salary, planning time, involuntary transfers -- these are just a few contract items that have forced Chambersburg Area School District teachers and board members into a stalemate. 

"Negotiations have been moving quite slow. They have not been happening in a way that we've wanted to see them go, and we're just hoping that the board listens to us, comes back to the table this upcoming Monday and tries really hard to come up with a tentative agreement,” said Cynthia Bowen, Chambersburg Area Education Association Co-President. 

Close to 100 teachers attended a demonstration outside of Tuesday night's school board meeting to be seen and heard by the board. 

"Across the county, we seem to be slipping further and further behind other districts. We just feel to maintain quality education in Chambersburg. We need to kind of stay with those districts,” said Doug Shatzer, Chambersburg Area Education Association Co-President. 

The clock is ticking for the board. Right now, the teachers have a strike planned for Nov. 13 if they cannot reach an agreement. The only meeting the parties have scheduled will be held on Monday, leaving a lot to solve in just one night. 

Pennsylvania law states that the strike must be done consecutively, and judging from the sea of green and signs that read, "How can you put children first if you put teachers last?" the strike could be quite devastating for the district.

"If the board was truly interested in coming up with a fair contract with the teachers, they would aggressively have some calendar dates, and it would be a high priority. Make it a priority! That's the problem; we don't feel like a priority of the school district,” Shatzer said. 

Every chair was filled in the board room, and several teachers with statements in hand waited outside to get a chance to speak, so if Bowen and Shatzer's goal was to be seen and heard -- mission accomplished.

"Whatever they choose to do, we will be prepared for it,” Bowen said. 

Bowen and Shatzer said they've talked to several teachers who have left CASD for better salary and benefits.


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