By Leo Knepper
The school year is less than a month old, but there are already two districts where teachers are on strike. There also are at least two more districts were teachers have indicated they’d walk out by mid-October. Teachers from Shamokin and Line Mountain Areas are out of the classroom. In both cases, the teachers’ unions are demanding more.
The PSEA negotiator at both school districts is Mark McDade, who makes over $100,000 per year. The situation was neatly summed up in a letter from the Line Mountain School Board:
“It is apparent, by the Association’s last proposal, that the Association has no desire to settle these negotiations . . . Based on McDade’s leadership of 5 other local Teachers’ Unions toward strikes, regardless of how much they are being offered, it is obvious they just want more!”
In Shamokin Area, the School Board offered teachers $9,000 in salary increases over the next three three school years. The Line Mountain School Board was even more generous. Some teachers there would have seen their salaries increase by over $17,000 by 2020. Higher salaries also mean higher pensions. A multi-billion dollar funding shortfall in the pension system means taxpayers all over the state will be picking up those costs.
Pennsylvania is one of only 13 states where teachers may hold students’ education hostage to extract a higher salary and better benefits than the taxpayers who are covering the tab. We also lead the nation in teachers’ strikes. It would appear we are on track to keep that title.