State College

SCASD approves new bargaining unit contract for teachers

On Monday night the State College Area School District board of directors voted 8 to 1 to approve a new collective bargaining unit contract between the district and the State College Area Education Association.

SCAEA, the union representing the teachers in the district, voted to approve the contract prior to the board meeting.

“Working in concert with the board was a great learning experience for all involved. We had healthy discussions and conducted thorough data analysis from which we were able to generate an agreement that will continue to support our educators, and reduce some strains on the district,” said Eugene Ruocchio, SCAEA president.

Discussions between the district and SCAEA were initiated in January. Amber Concepcion, board president, stressed the collaborative nature of the process.

“It was a very good opportunity to have that time spent in conversations with the leaders of our teachers’ association,” Concepcion said.

The contract will span July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020 and includes an average annual salary increase of 3.3 percent over that period. Increases will continue to be determined by years spent teaching in Pennsylvania and graduate/undergraduate course completion.

Medical insurance plans, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, will include a preferred provider organization plan with higher employee cost sharing and a 10 percent co-insurance requirement.

Also included is a Qualified High Deductible Health Plan. Employees enrolled in this option can take advantage of a health savings account to which the district will make a contribution. The account is intended to help employees save for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Coverage will not be extended to employee spouses if they have access to comparable health insurance via their own employers beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

Beyond the nuances of the contract there was always one very important goal.

“We want to be the type of district that can attract and retain really talented and dedicated teachers,” Concepcion said.

Elsewhere in the evening, the board voted to award Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. a bid of $98,480 for building about 170 temporary parking spaces on North Campus to replace those that will be occupied during South Building construction.