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Riverview School District, union officials continue contract talks

November 12, 2018

An agreement has yet to reached between Riverview School District and its teachers union.

Negotiating teams from both parties met Oct. 22, before the school board’s voting session. A contract vote did not occur.

“The big issues are still out there, and we’re still very far apart on them,” Riverview Education Association President Mark Capsambelis said.

The district posted a negotiations update on its website, rsd.k12.pa.us. The post said the latest meeting was the 18th negotiation session.

“During this session, the parties signed off on and tentatively agreed to eight additional items in the contract,” according to the district post. “Collaborative discussion and progress was made on several other items. While much has been accomplished to date, discussions will continue with the goal of reaching a contract to ensure that students continue to receive a quality education in the future, the work of our teachers is respected, and parents and taxpayers are treated fairly.”

The union’s 90 members have been without a contract since July. The last contract was a four-year deal.

They voted Oct. 10 to authorize their negotiating team to call a strike.

Less than a week later, officials from both sides declared progress was made in contract talks.

School board President Maureen McClure said they agreed on a five-year term and have some outstanding issues to address.

“We’re down to the economics, which is the hard part,” she said. “We’ve got great teachers, and we want to keep them.”

Capsambelis expressed frustration that it took the possibility of a strike to make headway.

“I think the strike vote pushed things along,” Capsambelis said. “The district talks about sustainability, but how can you sustain a district when you are unwilling to invest in the students, the programs or the teachers?”

Two scheduled negotiation sessions remain: one on Nov. 6 and the last on Nov. 15.

Capsambelis could not confirm whether another sit-down would be set, or if a strike would occur should no deal be reached in a few weeks.

“I don’t know what the next step will be,” he said. “I really hope that we can come to an agreement.”

The district would receive 48-hour notice should a strike be called. State law requires teachers to provide at least 180 days of instruction by June 15.

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