Seneca Valley Teachers Say 'No' to Salary Freeze
District officials will vote on adopting the budget for the 2011-2012 school year at next week's meeting.
Members of the Seneca Valley teachers union have said no to a request for a one-year pay freeze.
At Monday’s workshop meeting, school board President Robert Hill said he received a letter dated May 6 from Seneca Valley Education Association President Nick Ierino stating that teachers do not want to discuss changes to their contract agreement now.
In September, district officials approved a five-year, early-bird contract for teachers.
“Certainly because of our budget crisis any contribution would have been helpful,” Hill said.
With extensive planned cuts to state education funding across the commonwealth, the district is facing a $10 million dollar shortfall for the 2011-2012 school year. In a 6-3 vote, board members in April approved a proposed budget that includes a 5.6-mill tax increase for residents and the curtailment of a half-dozen district programs to balance the budget.
The spending plan, if enacted, will affect 16 full-time teaching positions and one part-time position. The board already has accepted the retirement of 36 teachers, who will not be replaced. The district’s 49-person administration staff also has accepted a one-year pay freeze.
Board members Joseph Scalamogna, James Welsh and Eric DiTullio voted against the proposed budget.
At Monday’s meeting, school board candidate Jim Nickel, who is running for director of the district’s Region 2 against Vernon “Chip” Sargent, II, asked if officials have dug deep enough into the budgeting process before deciding to raise taxes by 5.6 mills.
Jackson Township resident Tom Murray also said he was unhappy with the millage increase, which is expected to raise $2.75 million. Murray, who spoke at the March school board meeting on behalf of residents who do not have children enrolled in the Seneca Valley School District, said the tax hike would harm the area’s retirees and burden its middle class families.
“There has got to be a way to reduce some of these taxes,” he said. “At some point, this has to stop or we’re going to have a real problem with our local economy.”
Officials will vote on adopting the $94 million spending plan at the next school board meeting at 8 p.m. May 16.
The board also will vote on a revised $4.16 million budget presented by the Butler County Area Vocational Technical School for 2011-2012. In March, the board voted unanimously against a $4.34 million budget prepared by the vo-tech school.