West Shore teachers are accusing the school district of being unreasonable about a pay freeze request that has left talks at a standstill.
Eric Graybill, a Cedar Cliff High School band director and president of the West Shore Education Association, said last week that the school board has asked for a wage freeze for the upcoming school year without any negotiations or concessions on the part of the district.
Graybill said teachers are amenable to discussing a wage freeze, but that it's not fair to ask that without some sort of discussion about what the district can do in return.
Elsewhere in York County, districts have offered a shorter work year or adjusted hours to make up for the freeze.
"It's all or nothing," Graybill said of the district.
District spokesman Ryan Argot said the union refused to agree to unconditional pay freezes the past two years.
Dispute: The two sides offer a sharp contrast as to who is to blame for stalled negotiations.
Graybill said the school board has refused to meet with teachers, while Argot said that accusation is "disingenuous" and that board president Anthony Tezik met with union leadership to tell them the board was seeking a unconditional pay freeze.
"It is apparent (the union) does not wish to be part of the solution, but rather is more interested in creating discord between the board and the professional staff," Tezik said in a release. "Such efforts are counterproductive to the district's mission."
The teachers' union understands administrators and support staff
have taken a wage freeze for next year, but teachers at least want a "conversation" with the district first, Graybill said.
"It sets a precedent. And it compromises some of the things we've worked for," in the teachers' contract, Graybill said.
Want to be aware: West Shore has a $96.2 million proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year, with a tax increase yet to be determined; the district's tax cap is 1.7 percent.
West Shore School Board already decided to close Lemoyne Middle School as well as change the high school to traditional scheduling instead of block scheduling to make it more efficient.
Those moves have cost at least 15 teachers their jobs, Graybill said. The union isn't trying to fight the moves since they are final, he added, but want to know what the money saved from a wage freeze would go to.
"We at least want to know how that's going to help," Graybill said.
Argot said the union has "continued to once again seek self-serving contractual concessions from the board in exchange for taking a pay freeze."