The York City Education Association will continue to meet with district administrators and hash out a contract — but not if it means each teacher will lose nearly $15,000 a year, a union leader said.
Union members last week rejected a deal that asked some of them to concede $11,200 in benefits and another $2,000 to $4,000 in salary, depending on the pay scale, said Kim Schwarz, secretary and past president of the union.
"That can break some of us," she said.
For a union member to cover his or her family on the health care plan, the monthly cost would increase from $130 to $600 with a $4,000 deductible. Spouses who could otherwise obtain health insurance would no longer be covered by the district's plan. The higher monthly cost and deductible add up to $11,200 a year.
YCEA members would also lose their prescription plan and would have to pay for medicine in full until the $4,000 deductible is met.
The York City School District is also asking its teachers to take a 5 percent decrease in pay, which will mean a $2,000 to $4,000 loss, depending on how much the educators earn.
"For some of us, that means we can't afford a house or send our kids to school," Schwarz said.
Previous vote: On June 2, union members voted 220-13 against the contract proposal, but YCEA President Bruce Riek said they are still open to further discussion.
"We are more than willing to continue to meet and negotiate and discuss options that may exist or could exist. We just don't have anything set up yet," he said.
Teachers continue to question the option of reopening Hannah Penn as a K-8 school, Riek said.
"One of the biggest issues is the $4.1 million spent to open Hannah Penn for the 225 New Hope (Academy Charter School) students coming into the district," he said.
Schwarz said she also questions the need of opening up Hannah Penn.
"The other schools could open up and absorb the students, and then the district wouldn't need to cut anything," she said.
Board cuts: Facing a $4.9 million budget gap, the district on Monday named several potential programs and positions that could be cut if the district doesn't reach a collective bargaining agreement with the union.
"We are totally acknowledging concessions need to be made and we are prepared to do that. We are willing to make concessions and would like them to make some concessions," Schwarz said.
Superintendent Eric Holmes did not return calls seeking comment about contract negotiations.
Without a new contract in place, the district would be converted to charter schools by September 2015, according to the state-mandated recovery plan.
Schwarz also disagrees with that move.
"I don't think there would be any positive difference with the charter school conversion. I don't think another school company coming in would have success or do as well as we have. I don't see that change as being welcome," she said.
— Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.