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Dallastown teachers cancel possible strike after draft deal reached

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Ellen Connelly talks changes in her classroom at Dallastown Area Middle School Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. Desks in the classroom have been rearranged to accommodate social distancing. Bill Kalina photo

Dallastown Area School District officials reached a tentative contract agreement with district teachers, canceling a planned strike the teachers union authorized to start on Tuesday. 

Dallastown Area Education Association President Ellen Connelly said union officials will share details of the agreement with the more than 400 union members on Monday. Per their by laws, she said members have 48 hours to review the agreement. The union scheduled a vote to ratify the agreement Wednesday evening. 

The Dallastown school board also has a meeting on Thursday, but Connelly said she doesn't know if the board plans to vote on the agreement at the meeting. 

Both the teachers union and the school board have to ratify the agreement with a majority vote for it to take effect, Connelly said. If one or both parties does not pass the agreement, then negotiations would resume, but that would not initiate a strike, she said. 

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Connelly said the union authorized the strike in December as a way to get district officials to work more with union members to negotiate new staff contracts. Current staff contracts expire June 30. Since the authorization, she said, negotiations have been easier. 

"We did a lot of talking," she said. 

Connelly said she could not share details of the tentative agreement, including how much it will cost the district. In a previous district statement, officials highlighted rising health care and pension costs as areas of concern. The district is also facing a deficit because of a $2.5 million funding oversight from 2020. 

Dallastown district officials declined to comment beyond a joint statement issued with the union on Feb. 25.