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Line Mountain teacher strike
to end within a week
By Duane Good, Editor

MANDATA • The current (as of Sept. 28) teacher strike in the Line Mountain School District will end within a week.

According to information currently posted on the line website, the state Department of Education has determined that the strike, which began Sept. 16, can not extend past 13 school days.

This means teachers must return to the classroom – regardless of whether or not a new contract has been settled – no later than Monday morning, Oct. 5.

Should the strike last the entire 13 days, the school district has announced the following makeup dates:

• In 2015, Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 28-30.

• In 2016, Friday, Jan. 8; and Mondays, Feb. 8 and Feb. 15; Wednesday and Thursday, March 23-24 and Monday, March 28; Friday, April 22; and Monday through Wednesday, June 13-15.

Current state law requires that a school district affected by a strike must end its school year no later than June 15.

Sports and all other after-school activities – including all homecoming activities scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3 – are continuing as planned.

The 90-plus members of the Line Mountain Education Association have been working without a new contract since the last agreement expired June 30, 2012. (That agreement was a one-year extension of a pact that expired at the end of June 2011.)

The most recent bargaining session between the LMEA and the school board took place Sept. 22. The board made an offer to the association, whose representatives reviewed and rejected it, according to Benjamin Pratt, an attorney and chief negotiator representing the board.

Pratt said the latest offer addressed the association’s concerns with the starting salary and the career rate. He did not disclose figures or other additional details.

As of press time for this week’s Sentinel, no additional bargaining sessions had been scheduled for this week or the first full week of October, according to Pratt.

In addition, the website indicated that the LMEA had not confirmed whether teachers would return to school prior to Oct. 5.

The Sentinel forwarded an email message to an LMEA representative last week asking for comment from the association or representatives of its parent group, the Pennsylvania State Education Association. There was no response as of the requested deadline.

Last year, after ongoing talks produced no new contract settlement, the LMEA announced plans to strike in early November. Those plans were withdrawn after the board, in late October, made an offer of non-binding arbitration.

The arbitrator’s report, released earlier this year, was approved by the school board but rejected by the LMEA. The board and the union continued bargaining sessions, but with no resolution at this time.

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