Mediator proposal for Perkiomen Valley teachers' contract revealed

PERKIOMEN — Details of the state mediator’s proposal for a contract with the Perkiomen Valley School District’s teachers’ union are now clear.

At the end of last week, 21st Century Media obtained a copy of the proposal, which the school board approved but the Perkiomen Valley Education Association’s leadership declined to present to its general membership.

The proposal included suggestions on nine areas of the contract including salary, health benefits and other things including the length of the work year and “summer academy workshops.”

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It was slated to run retroactive to the current school year and extend to 2016-17.

A message left with the Perkiomen Valley Education Association was unanswered.

Perkiomen Valley School Board President Ann Mantey said she couldn’t talk about the proposal.

“The board signed a confidentiality agreement,” she said in an email to 21st Century Media. “I can make no comment.”

As far as salary, the mediator proposed freezing salaries with no “horizontal or vertical movement” of pay for both 2013-14 and 2014-15.

For the two years after those, the mediator proposed increasing “horizontal movement” of teacher salaries by “up to one column per year.” In both of those years, any teachers on the top level of the salary scale would receive one-time $1,000 bonuses in lieu of a step increase in pay, per the mediator’s proposal.

Changes to the health benefits were proposed, though not right away.

“Until July 1, 2014, the health benefit provisions in the prior collective bargaining agreement expiring on Aug. 31, 2013, shall remain in full force and effect,” the proposal read.

After that, members of the teachers’ union were proposed to pay 16 percent of the premium share of a 20/30/70 plan until July 1, 2016, when it would increase to 17 percent.

In January, the Phoenixville Area School District came to an agreement with its teachers in which the premium cost for teachers would only increase to 11 percent in 2015-16, somewhat lower than what was proposed in Perkiomen Valley.

It’s unclear where the state average stands for teachers’ contribution to their health plans.

Another change the mediator proposed to the past teacher contracts is the district no longer cover tuition for teachers taking courses which are not “part of a pre-approved master’s program, graduate degree program or doctoral program.”

When the negotiating teams will meet again is not known.

At the end of August, if no agreement is reached, the Perkiomen Valley Education Association will have been working without a contract for a full year.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.