Ephrata approves tentative teachers’ contract

By on April 29, 2015


Salary increases average 2.8 percent per year

by Patrick Burns

“It’s a deal that sets a course for the future.”

That’s how Ephrata School District Superintendent Brian Troop described a new three-year deal the school board approved Monday that provides teacher salary increases averaging 2.8 percent per year.

“We are pleased to announce that the district and the teachers’ association have successfully negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement,” Troop said.20150427_191556

The negotiation process that began in September “has been a civil process aimed at offering an employment package that is fair and reasonable within the market, while being conscious of the increasing costs of healthcare and pension liabilities,” he said.

Teachers last week ratified the new contract, which runs July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018, and includes standard updates and minimal changes to the current agreement, the district said.

Early negotiations began at the end of last year with Ed Gambler, president of the Ephrata Area Education Association and high school math teacher.

The Ephrata Area Education Association voted to accept the deal on Wednesday, April 22 .

The 2.8 percent raise is comparable to economic guidelines and other local school districts.

The new deal follows the teachers’ last five-year deal that was ratified in March 2011. That collective bargaining agreement provided an average teacher salary increase of 3.82 percent per year.

Under the new deal, the district will update its healthcare plan to offer one, sole PPO plan with a multi-tiered system that increases deductibles each year of the contract. A spousal rule has also been added.

While many factors were considered during the negotiation process, what remained the top priority was to do what is best for the students and the community, Troop said.

Gambler said he was pleased with this year’s negotiating process.

“It is a tremendous benefit to work in a district where the education association, district administration, and school board all have the same goal foremost in their minds — to do what is best for the students of the Ephrata Area School District while continuing our tradition of fiscal responsibility,” Gambler said.

Timothy Stayer, board president, praised Gambler and the teachers in the district.

“These efforts will allow the district to continue to provide great educational opportunities for Ephrata students,” Stayer said.

In other news, the board approved the hiring of new varsity basketball coach Charles Fisher. He started his career at Manheim Central coaching the 8th- and 9th-grade basketball team and most recently served as the assistant boys’ varsity coach.

He has also coached JV baseball teams at Manheim Central and led their elementary summer basketball program.

Fisher takes over for Jason Coletti who recently resigned

  • The board announced the launch of the P2P Academy, a new component of the Parent to Parent (P2P) program, which will launch in May. The goal of the program is to help ensure children start school with skills for success.

The P2P Academy includes three short online learning modules intended to assist families with teaching their children kindergarten readiness skills, preparing for their success in school, and ultimately positively strengthening the community.

The modules include a short video, several questions to answer, and an opportunity to post and share feedback with other parents via an online message board.

A P2P Academy community launch event will be held on Tuesday, May 12 in the Ephrata High School cafeteria. Community members wanting to learn more about the P2P Academy are invited to a 5:30 p.m. presentation. Families interested in sampling the online modules and registering for the P2P Academy are invited to arrive at 6:30 p.m.. An RSVP is encouraged but not required. Please contact 721-1589 or foundation@easdpa.org with any questions or to RSVP.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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