23 Aug 2014
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Superintendent Provides Update on Saucon Valley Negotiations

On MondayMay 19, members of the Saucon Valley School Board, Edward Inghrim, Ralph Puerta and Susan Baxter, attended a bargaining session with the newly formed bargaining team for the Saucon Valley Education Association.

Superintendent Provides Update on Saucon Valley Negotiations
The following was provided to Patch by Saucon Valley Superintendent Dr. Sandra Fellin:

On May 19, 2014, members of the Saucon Valley School Board, Edward Inghrim, Ralph Puerta and Susan Baxter, attended a bargaining session with the newly formed bargaining team for the Saucon Valley Education Association (SVEA) and their newly hired attorney Andrew Muir, Esq.   The SVEA recently decided to not utilize the negotiations services provided by PSEA and utilize the services of a private attorney who used to work for PSEA.

The SVEA presented a one page proposal that completely ignored the October 28, 2013, report of independent fact-finder Rochelle Kaplan, even though the SVEA requested the initiation of the neutral process. The SVEA proposal, which will be reviewed publicly on May 27, 2014, demands, among other things:

1.  Retroactive salary increases to July 1, 2012, even if the employee is already retired or left district employment.

2.  Retroactive co-curricular increases to July 1, 2012, even if the coach retired or left district employment.

3.  Retroactive increases to the Induction Program ($50 in year 1, $100 in year 2, and $50 each year thereafter).

4. Rewrite of the tuition provision to give the union more authority in determining the approval for education course reimbursement and horizontal movement on the salary schedule.

5. The Union President wants to be relieved of all of her teaching duties and to be paid by the district taxpayers to perform her union responsibilities.

6. The Union wants to expand the existing retirement incentive to provide for healthcare benefits until Medicare eligibility.

7. No changes in healthcare plans or employee contributions to premiums.

The Board team summarily rejected the SVEA's proposal and expressed surprise that the SVEA would completely ignore the fact-finder's proposal that the union initially requested.

In response, the union's spokesperson alleged, without explanation, that the fact-finder's proposal was "cooked up" by the district's negotiator, Jeffrey Sultanik, and that the SVEA was going to ignore it. Muir also stated that the board's rejection of the SVEA proposal would "escalate the fighting" between the parties, which will include unspecified "job actions".

On May 27, the board will do a comprehensive costing on the SVEA proposal, which is much more costly than any proposal made by the association since the commencement of bargaining two years ago.

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