Dallastown Area teachers authorize a strike a week before school year begins

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Dallastown Area educators voted to authorize a strike Tuesday as they faced the prospect of beginning the school year without a new labor contract.

“Our teachers have spoken loud and clear,” said Ellen Connelly, president of the Dallastown Area Education Association.

UPDATE:Dallastown Area School District reaches tentative agreement with teachers

The authorization means the association’s negotiations team can call a strike at any time, provided they give the school district a 48-hour notice.

This move comes a week after a rally in front of the high school. Despite meeting with the district's attorney Aug. 10, the district and its educators did not agree to a new contract.

The first day of school for the district is Thursday, Aug. 25.

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Connelly said the educators previously took a wage freeze and health care concessions that saved the district money during their last negotiations for the 2020-2021 year. 

The association threatened a strike during those negotiations, as well, in December 2020. That threat was averted because both sides agreed on a temporary contract that expired June 30. 

Connelly said the association is trying to avoid the strike.

“But our members are not willing to take yet another cut in their overall compensation,” she added. 

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Dallastown Area Education Association President Ellen Connelly leads a rally of more than 150 teachers and community members outside Dallastown Area High School in York Township, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. The rally was held just before the Dallastown Area School District School Board would return to contract negotiations with the Dallastown Area Education Association. Dawn J. Sagert photo

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The district did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. 

The association, at the time of its strike authorization, invited the district to discuss the contract after the school board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the high school. 

In addition to Dallastown, York Suburban is also in the middle of negotiations with its educators. Dover Area, York City and Central York school districts are negotiating contracts for support staff.

— Reach Meredith Willse at mwillse@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.