Bethlehem Press

Thursday, May 28, 2020
press photo by chris haringBoard Vice President Susan Baxter, Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler and President Dr. Shamim Pakzad listen to discussion press photo by chris haringBoard Vice President Susan Baxter, Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler and President Dr. Shamim Pakzad listen to discussion

Teacher contract approved to 2023

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 by Chris Haring Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

A special school board meeting was held on Dec. 10 to review and ultimately vote on a new collective bargaining agreement, which will extend from July 2020 through June 2023. The contract passed narrowly by a 5-4 vote, with Edward Andres, Bryan Eichfeld, Michael Karabin and Shawn Welch voting “no.” All members were present.

Board members Sandra Miller and Cedric Dettmar spoke in support of the contract during the discussion period. Miller in support of what she said she believes to be robust but fair compensation for the educators in the district, said, “It’s the teachers that make this place tick. We have the second highest median income in the entire Northampton County.”

Dettmar took a more measured approach, saying, “There are things about it that I’m concerned about.” He added, however, that, “Overall, the pluses outweigh the minuses, and I think it will be good for us to get this early agreement and avoid the strife that we’ve encountered in the past.”

Welch presented a somewhat dizzying array of statistics, attempting to paint a picture that depicted the tax burden that might be placed on the residents of the district as teacher salaries and district expenditures might increase throughout the length of the proposed contract. His primary concern was that the district might be forced to either raise taxes or enact spending cuts on programs if they didn’t leave enough room for other potential increases in expenditures. “There isn’t breathing room for unanticipated bills,” he said. Eichfeld and Karabin also took some time to express their concerns. Karabin in particular did not display abject opposition to the contract’s terms explicitly, rather simply stating that he did not believe “enough time was spent on negotiating discussion and thrashing through the whole process.”

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 14.