The West York School Board narrowly approved a new three-year professional contract Tuesday night that is back-dated to July 1, 2012.

The board voted 4-3, with one abstention and one absence, to approve the agreement with the district's professional staff, including teachers and guidance counselors.

Board members Jayne Shepro, Brian Strathmeyer, Alan Moose and Jeanne Herman voted yes. Board members Todd Gettys, Rodney Drawbaugh and Robert Crouse voted no. Board member Wade Markel abstained, and board member Ralph Brandt was absent.

Under the agreement, employees' contributions to their health insurance will be converted from a flat rate to a percentage, which will allow the district to increase the employees' contributions at the same rate the district's overall health insurance costs increase.

Professional faculty will contribute 8 percent of the district's rate toward employee coverage and 9 percent toward coverage of dependents.

The agreement has professional faculty receiving no salary increase for the 2012-13 school year, a 2.25 percent increase during the 2013-14 school year and a 2 percent increase during the 2014-15 school year.

Concern: Before the vote, Gettys, who sits on the negotiating committee, expressed his reservations about the agreement.

"I think this contract is bad for the district. This is a Christmas contract," he said, likening it to a family who buys extravagant Christmas gifts in November and December, but doesn't have the money to pay the credit card bills in February when they come due.


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"We're spending money we should be saving," he said, adding that parents who don't buy their children everything they ask for Christmas aren't

bad parents, and the district's not giving the teachers everything they demanded doesn't mean the district doesn't appreciate the teachers.

He pointed out that Memorial Hospital's anticipated contribution to the tax revenue in the district won't come in until after the contract expires.

"If the district were a ship, we're heading into a storm full throttle," he said.

Timing: Drawbaugh, who is the president of the board and also a member of the negotiating committee, said his concern with the contract is that it expires in two years, the same year that the rest of the district's collectively bargained agreements also will come due. Crouse, the third member of the negotiating committee, also expressed reservations about the terms, conditions and length of the contract.

Ultimately, only the three men who had helped to negotiate the contract voted against it.

"I think that the administration and the board is just really happy to move forward," district superintendent Emilie Lonardi said after the meeting.

Lonardi accepted no salary increase in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. However, the district's board of education conducted a merit-based 2012-13 superintendent evaluation in which Lonardi earned an "excellent" rating, which equates to a salary increase of 4.5 percent, beginning July 1.

-- Reach Lauren McLane at news@yorkdis patch.com.