In a show of union solidarity, more than 100 teachers crammed into Tuesday’s Central Bucks School Board meeting to ask for a settlement to their contract dispute.
Although the crowd spilled out into the hallway, only one teacher spoke during the public comment period during the meeting. Middle school teacher Amy MacMinn said she and her colleagues “fully support” the team that is negotiating on behalf of the Central Bucks Education Association.
Teachers have been working under the terms of a contract that expired June 30, 2010.
“In the eight months since then, we have been teaching in good faith and delivering a high-quality education for our students and their families,” said MacMinn. “We are extremely hopeful that you will acknowledge and protect” the reputation of the faculty.
Teachers in the audience gave MacMinn an extended round of applause after her remarks.
Superintendent Dr. N. Robert Laws was tight-lipped when asked about the status of negotiations after the meeting. He acknowledged the two sides have been meeting twice a month but declined to be more specific.
“I’m optimistic,” he said. “The talks have been good. But we have some real major issues to deal with in the state of affairs in this economy. There has to be a lot of give and take on both sides.”
School Board President Paul B. Faulkner was similarly non-committal when asked to assess negotiations.
“There are two sides to the equation,” he said. “There have been discussions about ideas but we’re no closer [to an agreement] than we have been in the past.”
Asked whether contract proposals have been exchanged, Faulker said “not to my knowledge.”
Meanwhile, Laws said he could not assess what impact Gov. Corbett’s state budget proposal would have on the district’s budget. Corbett’s state spending plan, proposed on Tuesday, calls for a nearly $1 billion cut to public education subsidies and a pay freeze for teachers.
Laws said the state budget will be discussed on March 22 when the board reviews the district’s preliminary budget.