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Donegal Schools Approve Union Contract

The Donegal school board has approved a new four-year contract with teachers.

The board unanimously voted at its monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11, to approve a new collective bargaining agreement with Donegal Education Association.

“When you think of negotiations, sometimes you think of tenuous, difficult fighting, those types of things. It truly was not that. It was cordial, respectful, and we appreciated the process,” Superintendent J. Michael Lausch said at the meeting.

In the contract, teachers gained an average salary increase of 3.15 percent and an additional professional development day, increasing staff contractual days to 190, according to a news release.

Negotiations for the agreement took about four months. The contract is in effect from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2022.

“Both the Board of School Directors and the Donegal Education Association are pleased with the outcome of this negotiation.  The contract is fair to both parties and was settled in a timely manner, thus allowing us to continue providing excellent educational opportunities for our students,” the release said.

Some changes were also made to healthcare under the new agreement. Employees gained a wellness plan and family vision coverage.

However, deductibles, copays and spousal contributions will all increase, according to the release.

Also at the meeting, the district’s adherence to the new Act 55 Lunch Shaming Policy that went into effect in December 2017 was discussed.

The district was already following the majority of the new rules, however, it used to provide a cheese sandwich to students who did not have lunch money. Now, it has to provide the same choice of entrees available to paying students.

The rule also requires the schools notify families — instead of students — with low or negative lunch money balances.

Payment plans are also being offered to parents in arrears.

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