Monday, October 08, 2007

Seneca Valley Teachers Will Strike!

Teachers have authorized a strike to begin 10/15/07. Teachers have been without a contract for 2 years; read more here. Strikewatch has been updated!

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the teachers and anyone affiliated with this union should ashamed of themselves.

Teaching is about the kids and their education, not about the teachers. The demands of the union are unfair and completely out of touch with reality.

Many of us have been working over the past few years with minimal raises. It is a sign of the times.

To demand a ridiculous raise amount and very little contribution to health care costs is insulting to the rest of the community.

Unions will be the death of America. We will continue to see everything move out of country and our education system will continue to slide to some of the worst in a modernized society.

Good job unions! Way to go!

Dr. Homeslice said...

You're welcome to your opinions, even if they're wrong. Thank you, drive through.

Anonymous said...

fire them all. Unions were not created to hold families hostage...Anyone making over minimum wage should not be allowed to organize..7% non merit raise is a joke...5% based upon merit is acceptable... A 9 month job is heaven be happy, not greedy with what you have....

Dr. Homeslice said...

Anyone not making over minimum wage should not organize? Spoken like an individual who has never tried to live off of a minimum wage job. I'll break it down for you, anonymous-- you can't. 9 month job? I have a career buddy. A profession and it ain't 9 months-- it's year round.

Anonymous said...

The Seneca Valley School Board is offering the teachers a ridiculous 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9 per cent raise per year. Currently the teachers get almost 3. The teachers are asking for only 4% on scale. The teachers are also willing to donate towards health care premiums, of which the board rejected. How would you like to make less money per year, and have to pay expenses that you do not pay now? I do not think any rational hard-working human being would do that. The union is only using their law-given right to strike as a last resort. Almost 2 years without a contract, or a budge from the board is not right. The union has negotiated in good faith, what about the board?

Anonymous said...

Inflation is about 3%. Any increase over that amount contributes to inflation. Salary adjustments for civil servants are intended to reflect changes in the cost of living. Teachers have a built in merit increase through years of service.

Health care costs are an issue throughout our economy and no group should be insulated from the struggles that we all face.

Finally, as a parent, I'm thankful that our teachers our doing a good job. We are fortunate. As their employer, I'm simply not prepared to agree with larger raises than the cost of living. It's one of the reasons I live in Cranberry and Butler County. Frankly, I think a 4% increase is about 25% too much, but I can support it. I will be disappointed if the agreement escalates to much more.

And, as far as a strike goes ... it's an absurd part of the negotiating process, especially since it's duration is limited. Aside from inconveniencing your employers, teachers will polarize the community and my sense is that it won't work in their favor. I, for one, will avidly support a proposition to ban teacher strikes.

Anonymous said...

Seneca Valley tops the pay scale at 68,000 with a Master's. This is after working at least 19 years!

North Allegheny 95,000
North Hills 91,000
Montour 92,000 (Triple A)
Moon 91,000 (Triple A)
Shaler 91,000
Pine Richland 78,000 (Triple A)

Seneca Valley is supposed to be a PREMIER QUAD A school district. Have you looked at the price of houses in this community. Have you looked at the businesses in this community? There are TRIPLE A school districts making more than our teachers. It DOESN'T matter if we live in Butler County or not.
The 4% annual raise INCLUDES the given incremental step raise as well. Don't be fooled by what this school board puts in the paper.
Why would we, as a district, want a school board who is against our teachers?

Anonymous said...

Whatever the percent increase is when this is settled I just wish it wasn't given to each teacher across the board. I think the increase should be handed out based on job performance system so if the percentage is 4 some teachers could get higher if they are doing a great job while others would get less than 4 if they are not performing.

Anonymous said...

I hope the school board locks out the union. If they start taking resumes on Oct. 5th, they should be able to have the schools re-staffed by December. Going forward, they can employ everyone on an "at-will" basis, just like every other professional in this country.

Anonymous said...

The standard cost of living increase for those of us living in the US and working 12 months out of the year with only two weeks vacation is 3.7%. We all pay at least 1/2 toward our healthcare benefits. Oh, and the only way you get a merit increase (which is usually less than 2% is to actually prove you are performing at a level that is GREATER than what is expected on the job.

I am not in a union by choice. Unions have caused many companies to go under, leaving the employees with what? No job, and looking for a new one. Oh, and of course America is now Off shoring tons of stuff as a direct result of unions. So what happens? We lose more jobs here in the US because companies cannot afford to keep those jobs here in the US.

That notwithstanding, this strike is ridiculous, and much of Butler County affected does NOT support it. We moved to Butler County so we would not have to pay the taxes you see in Allegheny County. There are families that now suffer as a result of the actions the teachers are taking. Families who cannot afford to have in home daycare for their kids, or have no other options since their kids are too old for daycare or other options. The little ones who are just getting into the swing of school are now going to be derailed and have to start all over again with learning the rules and behavior standards of school. Have you tried to explain a teacher's strike to a 6 year old??

During the strike, the teachers get paid, so there is no hardship for them...except for having to be bored to death carrying picket signs and sitting outside while preventing our children from going to school and learning.

Honestly, I am not so upset with the union as a whole - it's the teachers who voted to strike. Those of you who cast that vote did not think of anything more than "what's in it for you". You have done a great job of teaching our children that if they want more, they should stick it to everyone else and look out for number 1.

Are you fighting for a just cause? Are you so underpaid and is the offer on the table so unreasonable that you will be at the poverty level based on your current income? What makes you so much better than the rest of us who have to pay for our health care benefits - oh, and even with a master's degree many of us make less than you and work WAY longer hours?

I do not get it.

Dr. Homeslice said...

You don't get it because you're not in a union. If you were, I think you would get it.

Anonymous said...

What a sad, sad circumstance. As a former Seneca Valley Employee I can tell you that you have a great school with great students and teachers. If only the public knew the true story. The school board has skewed the truth. If you want things to continue to be as good as they are, you really need to get educated on what he board is really offering the teachers. After nearly 2 years of negotiations they have essentially offered the teachers a pay cut. The teachers have been willing to negotiate the entire time. The board has done nothing but delay and drag the district and the union through the mud with lies. Look at the awards the district has recieved over the last few years. Look at the great improvements in test scores. Do you think it has been the board that has done this? There are great teachers at SV (ask your kids)and you will lose them to other districts if this does not improve. As for me, I am glad that I am no longer in this situation.

Just remember, if it wasn't for unions, there would be a lot of hard working people being taken advantage of or out of work. Oh yeah, there are a lot of hard working people being taken advantage of, that is why the Teachers Union at Seneca Valley is going out on strike. Learn the facts, you just might support them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Wrote:

Other schools pay teachers holding a masters the following:

North Allegheny 95,000
North Hills 91,000
Montour 92,000 (Triple A)
Moon 91,000 (Triple A)
Shaler 91,000
Pine Richland 78,000 (Triple A)

That's wonderful. That will give you more places to submit resumes to. After all, no one is asking you to stay. If the grass is greener elsewhere, pack up your stuff and leave. There are plenty of people right behind you that will be more than happy to take your job. And, chances are test scores will not change.

By the way, have fun in the cold holding your sign for the next 30 days. Next time, go on strike in the spring. Apparently many of you are products of the SV education system.

Anonymous said...

The Board is not offering a cut. They are offering 4% W-2 increases. The union wants 4% "on-scale" which averages 6.3%. If everyone knew how the "chart" works, the secret would be out, and everyone would know how teachers passed everyone else up on the salary parade. We get what we deserve.

Anonymous said...

Here's a little fact finder for you:

1. Did you know the district asked the union leaders to take the most recent offer back to the union members for a secret ballet vote? The union leader said no. Why? Peer pressure works very well. The greedy members do not want the level headed members to "really" have a vote.

2. In the last strike, several years ago, the younger union members controlled the negotiations and messed over the older teachers. Ask a teach that retired 5-10 years ago how the union worked for them. In theory unions are good; unfortunately the greed of a few often takes over.

3. All teachers negotiate together. Is it really fair that a physics teacher gets paid the same as a gym teacher? How many gym teachers could teach physics? Few. How many physics teachers could teach gym? Most! Doesn't seem fair to me. I'm sure the gym teachers love the union.

4. If you decide not to participate in the union, you still pay the majority of union fees (around 85% I believe). So basically, everyone has to join, or pay anyway, and they do public voting so peer pressure makes you vote with the extremists.

5. It's true that the district rejected the recommendation of the fact finder. However, the union fails to mention that they rejected it as well. What's more, the finder was closer to district's side than the union's.

6. The union is putting pressure on all extra curricular activities (band, football, etc.). Why? If this is not the most selfish act, then I don't know what is. You can't make up scholarship opportunities and invaluable life experiences. Fewer vacation days and no act 80 days - no problem. Lost opportunities for the innocent is just not write, especially over money. You should be ashamed.

7. Lastly, if the district doesn't budge, then what? Well, the teachers go back to work this year and begin next year without a contract. So basically, many innocent people get hurt and nothing gets accomplished.

Either way, I don't really care about the outcome. I don't live in your district and don't have any children. I just find the whole thing comical. To my joy (and sorrow for the kids) I have 30 days of this to look forward to.

P.S. Is there any other professional on the planet where middle of the road performers (test scores) can demand top performer salaries? I can't think of one.

Anonymous said...

The misinformation presented in this blog is indicative of the hold the Seneca Valley School Board has over the local media. Contrary to what has been stated, the teachers DO NOT get paid during a strike situation! In addition to giving up pay, they are also sacrificing their holiday vacations with their families. You may say, "this is their choice" because they they went on strike. Using logic, however, it shows just how bad the situation is for them. How many people out there so strongly believe in what they do that they would make the same sacrifices?

This strike is NOT about teacher greed. In fact, if the school board would make any good faith attempt to BARGAIN and not DICTATE, it would be over. The board has not increased their offer in a year. All they need to do is make a counter offer and we can all go back to school. The teachers worked for 16 months without a contract and would do it again if only the board would agree to negotiate.

We all want the kids back in school. Call your school board member and let them know you want them to NEGOTIATE so this will all be over!

Anonymous said...

If the grass is really greener on the other side, why don't all the teacher haters, try teaching themselves. Do the "easy job" like "gym" and teach the class with 80-90 kids in a class(6 times a day w/ 45 minute periods). We should stick it to the teachers because they are greedy for wanting a fair contract. They should just be happy that they get the opportunity to teach our kids. Teachers should teach for free!

Who is the real villain; the teachers; the school board; or is it the school board's lawyer that has nothing to lose except his extra 140 dollars an hour wage that includes travel time? Is it a greedy bunch of teachers, or is it a greedy individual that will do anything to get rich at the expense of thousands of others? By the way the taxpayers are paying his hourly wage! What job security, cause havoc in every school district in Butler County and get really rich in the process!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the children suffer. Teachers, shame on you!

Anonymous said...

The only ones who should be ashamed in all of this are the school district officials who are using politics and pandering to the public in order to preserve their positions and not give the teachers what they truly deserve in wages and other benefits.

Seneca Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in the country with numerous affluent housing developments and/or communities contained within the district. How many of those residents living in those homes with their price tags of up over $300,000 could actually live in such home on a Seneca Valley teacher's current average salary of $57,000??? Not very many.
Most of them spend that on their stainless steel kitchens.

And how many of those same people in those same communities have Steeler or Penguin season tickets, costing thousands of dollars a piece, yet kick up a storm when their school taxes go up $100 a year??? When the pro teams go on strike, these are always the first people to yell "Give 'em what they want!" yet they begrudge the teachers who are educating their children the money they deserve. Oh, and athletes don't work year round, so does that mean that they should get less money too??? Less millions, that is. And politicians fall into that category too, they work less than teachers and make salaries of over $100,000 per year. Why don't the taxpayers complain about THAT???

It's all a matter of priorities, and in America, education right now isn't a priority. We are one of the few countries in the world that guarantees every citizen the right to a FREE public school education from K-12 and we continually defile that gift. What a shame, and shame on all of you that don't support that gift.

Anonymous said...

The teacher bashing on this blog is amazing. I am definitley the bashing type. I just would like for all the teacher and union bashers to be a little more educated on the facts. Once you understand everything then your comments on greed, find another job and so on might be held back. The comments around go to another school, thats an easy comeback.
where were all of you bashers during the school board meetings? I was at the last 3, saw maybe 5 parents at most other than myself. so the bashing really shows how brilliant most of you are. Nope, I am not a teacher but I am in a union and the union has done wonders for me, and my coworkers. Sexual harrassment issues, unfair treatment, discrimination and so on. Who fights for you when you are treated poorly? Oh yea thats what the stop at the bar is for after work, to try an cope with your wonderful job.

Anonymous said...

I think it is absurd that these teachers feel they are entitled to a raise greater than 3%. Look around you, while industries are downsizing, workers loosing their pensions, forced to pay for their health care and loosing countless jobs how ridiculous is it that they feel they are entitled to more? I disagree that it isn't a 9 month a year job. Teachers enjoy every weekend, holiday and summer off. I doubt that there is anyone in the private sector that would make that amount of money working 9 months a year.
Start making these teachers raises based on merit not just because they are unionized. they are not acting like professionals in any sense. They claim to care for the students and I truly believe a great majority of them do. Then do what your hired to do and teach. What kind of example are you giving these kids? In my opinion a very poor one. You are hardly forced to work under dire conditions. In addition to all the scheduled days off you get more planning periods in a day that take you out of the classroom. Is it really necessary to have one individual and one group planning period each day? I agree that you need some planning time and time to grade papers but some teachers end up teaching only 4-5 periods a day.
Look around you, the community as a whole is outraged and disgusted with the demands. You are doing a huge disservice to the "profession" of teaching and the student you say you care about.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts correct. You have no idea what a teacher goes through in a day. You talk as if a teacher does nothing. Teachers can't even go to the restroom unless it is inbetween periods. Don't tell me how much a teacher does until you have walked a week in their footprints. Maybe you should come in and spend some time. Or are you scared that you couldn't handle it. You could have been a teacher, but it takes someone who is willing to be highly educated, highly motivated, and willing to work for far less than people with the same level of education. There have been many years where I taught 7 periods a day, 6 different classes to well over 200 students. I would gladly except baby sitting wages for that. $3 an hour 200 students would make for a great salary. So unless you are really willing to find out what it is like, or get educated on how hard a teacher works it would probably be best that you keep your comments to yourself. It's people like you that force teachers to go on strike to get a salary that is respectable.

Anonymous said...

There have been alot of comments for and against the unions. Once upon a time there was a place for unions, that time is no more. They are not needed in this day and age....period.

The majority of teachers at SV do not even live in the district, but most all of them have chosen to work at SV because it is a good school district.

Teachers love SV, they love the kids, and they have a great work environment...there is a huge wait list for teachers trying to get jobs at SV schools.

Please keep in mind that SV serves Jackson, Evans City, Zelienople, Harmony, Seven Fields and Cranberry. Over 80 percent of home owners live outside the Cranberry corridor where there is a higher per capita income. The fact is simple, and our school board understands this, most home owners cannot afford higher taxes, and most all cranberry folks are Allegheny transplants trying to flee those high Allegheny taxes.

Obvious teachers comments here have stated that they want to be on par with those North Hills districts, but the residents in SV district do not want to pay the taxes of NH....period.

We elected this school board to represent US, not the teachers, they are fighting to keep our taxes as low as possible, while balancing the need for a quality education for our kids....this is a fine line.

And to Dr. Homeslice....I understand that this teaching job is a profession, but it is NOT a full time 2080 hr. per year job...like the rest of us white and blue collar workers. And while you have not reveled your sex, I'm sure
that the vast majority of teachers in SV are female and their income is a second income...not the primary bread winner.

It's very hard for most residents in the district to sympathize with teachers that are making more money than they are, and have to work harder for it.

The residents are paying your salaries....and you do not have cart blanche to take from us our hard earned dollars as you see fit. Union or no...we are the arbiters of those moneys via our elected officials.

The idea that has been presented here for "performance" raises really appeals to me. There are award winning teachers out there that deserve everything that they make. Then there are teachers out there that do not teach, they push buttons on VCR's and just tell the kids what pages to read in the books....you know who you are, and so do I....shame on you!

Bottom line is this: residents do not want to pay more taxes...89% said so. That means no salary increases. If those teachers that voted to strike want more....you have our leave to go get it elsewhere....we don't want you that bad!

Anonymous said...

All you people that want to bash teachers should try teaching for a week, that's if you could make a week. Teaching is not as easy as you people think. I know a lot of teachers and I know for a fact what goes on. You people say they work 9 months a year. Blah, Blah, Blah! Do you have to go to school every year to keep your job? Teachers do! They have to take night classes, weekend classes, or summer classes to keep there education liscense. All you anti-strike people are mad at teachers for striking during the school year need to understand what is going on. If they went on strike during the summer break, who in the world would care? Nobody! Now that they went on strike during the school year, you people want to cry bloody murder. Where were you last year when this negotiation was going on?

All you people that moved here because Allegheny taxes are too high, might want to look for a place to live in Forest County. Butler County is no longer a rural area thanks to Cranberry turning into Wexford and RT 19 turning into McNight Rd. People wake up and look around, the area is growing in size and not turning back.

Pay the dang teachers what they deserve. You yap about the quality of education the kids get at SV, maybe you should get the facts before you open your mouth. 2005 Seneca Valley Middle School ranked #1 in the state. Oops, guess that's not enough for a raise. Taxes went up last year, teachers didn't get a raise. So where did the money go? Who cares as long as teachers didn't get a raise right? WRONG!!!!!!!!

The only good thing about the strike is that we don't see SV on the news because of a drug bust or drug issues. Oh, I forgot that's the teachers fault also, right parents? Remember parents, teachers are not babysitters, do your part and get involved.

Lisa Wilson (Cranberry Twp.) said...

I think that this current strike is very unfortunate. Far too many of our citizens (including me) are in the dark when it comes to understanding all of the issues connected with the strike, so I decided to conduct some research of my own before deciding my opinion. I'm glad I did the research because I learned a lot of things that are not being reported in the paper and on tv. I am trying to share this information with as many people as possible so that we can all make informed decisions. After learning all that I did, I must say that I am siding with our teachers on this one. Please read the following as I am sure you will find it beneficial in one way or another:


Seneca Valley Strike: The Facts

Fact: The Seneca Valley teachers have not had a pay raise in the last 3 years running (not even a cost of living increase).

Fact: The teachers are not asking for a 6% increase per year as the media keeps reporting. They are, however, asking for a 4% across the board (scaled) increase and have also agreed to pay more into their health care costs.

Fact: The district says it is offering a 4% annual increase to the teachers, but technically, it isn’t. This discrepancy is due to the way in which teachers’ salaries are scaled. Under the board’s proposal, some teachers would, indeed, receive a 4% annual increase, while a full 30% of the veteran teachers in the district would only receive a 1.75% annual bump. That’s about a $700 increase per year for teachers who’ve invested the most time educating our children. Along with the $700 yearly raise, the board has demanded the teachers to begin paying a $50 per month health care premium ($600 per year) and a $500 deductible. Now for some math homework: A $700 salary increase minus $1,100 in new health care costs equals -$400. These senior teachers would, therefore, be making less money each year than they are now. That’s why there is a strike going on.

Fact: The teachers have been willing to make concession on health care from the first day of negotiation. The teacher’s association offered to do Interest Based Bargaining and attack health care costs together from the very beginning of the process. The response from the school board was: “We have no interest in doing that.” (and that is a direct quote)


Fact: When the district says it will have to increase taxes to pay for teachers’ salaries, it is basing this statement on current school revenue only and not taking into account its own financial reports which it submitted to the State. These financial reports reveal that the growth in the community with new homes and businesses will generate more than enough new revenue to give the teachers a raise without increasing taxes. In fact, the district will still be able to add $3,000,000 to the surplus over the course of a five year teacher contract.

Fact: According to the State’s Fact Finder’s report, Seneca Valley could afford to give its teachers a substantial pay increase without raising taxes and without touching the surplus fund.

Fact: According to board member Paul T. Adametz, the board has already raised taxes for six consecutive years (while the percent of the district’s budget devoted to teacher salary and benefits has decreased in those 6 years).


Fact: For 15 straight years, the S.V. board has spent 1.97% less than projected on teacher salaries and benefits, and has, subsequently, accrued a $14 million surplus (one of the largest in the State of PA).

Fact: The State of PA recommends that districts have on hand a surplus of 5%-10% of their annual budgets. Seneca Valley’s surplus sits at over 18% of its annual budget.

Fact: When compared to districts of similar size and wealth, Seneca Valley has the highest percentage of teachers with Master’s degrees . Yet, Seneca Valley offers the worst pay for its teachers who have a Master’s degree. (See attachment).

Fact: While the average S.V. teacher’s salary is $53,715, this fails to acknowledge the fact that 65% of Seneca Valley teachers make below this figure. You can view all of the Seneca teachers’ salaries at http://www.stopteacherstrikes.org/Salaries/Butler/SenecaValley.htm

Those who are making the top salaries have taught 25+ years in addition to having their master’s degrees and 30 graduate credits beyond their master’s degrees (almost the equivalent of a PhD).


Fact: If the financial status of the district is such a large concern, then why did the school board vote to award Westinghouse a “tax free” status for the next 15 years? That’s right, the new Westinghouse moving in to Cranberry will not pay taxes to the district for the next 15 years. Wow! That’s a lot of money!


Fact: While the board insists the teachers are asking for too much money, it voted unanimously to give district lawyer Tom King a pay increase this year. Tom King currently makes $140 per hour or $291,000 per year. Mr. King is possibly the only person who stands to gain anything if this strike drags on. Mr. King’s track record is not very impressive. King is connected to the strikes in the Brookville Area School District and the Punxsutawney School District, both of which have gone years without settlements and endured many strikes. As a result of Mr. King’s tactics, Brookville is currently in its fourth year without a contract, and another strike looms on the horizon. Mr. King is using the same strategies here and is achieving the same results.


Fact: While Seneca spends less money per pupil than do schools of similar size and wealth, its students are achieving the same as or better than students in those other districts. The Standards and Poor’s Agency awarded Seneca Valley the highest rating in the category of “Return in Spending.” In other words, the Seneca Valley taxpayer is getting the highest return (in student achievement) on their investment than other districts.


Fact: Last year, Seneca Valley moved from number 38 and was ranked number 24 out of the 106 Western PA Schools. This year, the scores were even higher.

Fact: Seneca Valley’s PSSA testing scores went up for the third straight year in a row.

Fact: Seneca Valley Middle School won the 2005-06 Don Eicchorn Award for Middle School Excellence, recognizing it as one of the best middle schools in the State.

Fact: Seneca Valley Middle School and Haine Elementary School have won several Keystone Awards from the Pennsylvania Department of Education .

Fact: Seneca Valley is considered one of the best high-school music programs in the State. Seneca Valley often sends more musicians to All-State ensembles than any other school in Pennsylvania. Students from Seneca have also been selected to the prestigious All-East Band which includes Musicians from 13 different states. The Seneca Valley High School ensembles are frequently invited to perform at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Convention, and Seneca Valley High School has been recognized as a Grammy Signature School.

Bottom line: Our teachers must be doing something right. Give them their cost of living raise, and let’s all move on with our lives.

Blogger said...

Lisa Wilson said... Fact: The teachers are not asking for a 6% increase per year as the media keeps reporting. They are, however, asking for a 4% across the board (scaled) increase and have also agreed to pay more into their health care costs.

Doesn't a 4% scaled increase mean that if I a Masters level 5 (just to pick a random level) teacher this year and I do well I will get the 4% increase going from one contract year to the next as well as the bump I get going from M-5 to M-6. That implies to me that if I am an M-5 teacher this year and don't do a good job I will be an M-5 teacher next year and get just the 4% increase. I am being rewarded significantly for not doing my job well.

Also, exactly how much money are the teachers willing to contribute to their healthcare on a monthly basis? I am talking about an actual deduction from your paycheck that goes to offset the costs the district has to pay for healthcare.

This is also being discussed here if you want to share your opinions. It sounds like you are a teacher or have some knowledge of the teacher's side.

Beery Bill said...

A pox on the board and union. They squabble like kids in the sand box. That said, two teachers stopped by my house with a pro-union handout that included serious fact spinning. I suggested that instead of whining about salary, teachers and the union begin telling us folks that pay the property taxes exactly what teachers do to earn their money. What a novel suggestion!

Anonymous said...

Attention all parents:

Please come and visit school just one (all day). Come with me as I arrive :45 minutes early to work (do you?).

Come and watch me tutor your kid because you "don't care". Watch me feed your kid in the morning (apparently, all you have is junk food-which has made him overweight).

Watch me teach with 10 "special ed" kids in the same room and 20 other "regular" kids in outfits that YOU bought for them (beer slogans and innuendos-that's nice).

Watch me stay during lunch and explain what he missed when you let him stay home and sleep.

Watch me stay until 5 each day and then go coach the same kids until 7 (one dollar an hour to coach-is that too much, too).

Watch me teach until the end of June and go back the second week of August (Wait.. 3 months off? Have you checked a caledar?).

Watch me answer e-mails and phone calls from parents that push, pry and try to live vicariously through their son by protesting playing time and a 19/20 on a quiz.

Watch me break up fights that your kid started, then provide counseling to the kid that he beat up.

Watch me while I try and be professional to your son while he speaks to other teachers with such wonderful cussing that you taught him at home.

Most of all-watch me TEACH!

I do it all and so do thousands of others and if having a union to protect what little leverage I have (Do you know anything about how limited a teacher's RIGHT to strike is?), the so be it.

I DARE you to come to school-wait that's right. You're too busy jumping on the bandwagon that is assualting public employees.

Sleep tight. All you do is weaken your child's education. But you know what? You can't weaken a true union spirit or the resolve of a teacher. I'll be back on Monday and, despite your lack of parenting, I will be making a positive impact on some child, somewhere, some way.

God Bless Teachers Unions!!!

Anonymous said...

WA WA WA !!!
Have you looked around at Rowan and seen any children who are disrespectful or dress in an inappropriate way??? These kids come from very good families. Cry me a river about how hard you have it! Sorry the last post got the calendar wrong you get 15 personal/sick days, 5 family illness days on top of the 8 days for Christmas, 3 days, for Thanksgiving, 3 days for Easter and the 12 1/2 weeks in the summer. Let's not forget the pay you get for being department/grade level chairpersons, staying longer than the 186 days you work or the summer school pay or the athletic activities. All this along with free healthcare, free life insurance, free disability insurance, tuition reimbursement etc...
Wow, sounds like a great deal to me.
Oh and you may be able to fool some people with the cry about 1.5% raise because the 4% increase offered is on top of the "step" raises. You all feel the step raises are automatic and don't really count to the bottom line. Well, it does. There isn't a money tree out back and someone has to balance a budget and be fiscally responsible, not just write blank checks. Maybe if they polled the teachers with the least amount of time they would have decided the 4% was great. It's the teachers with no more step increases that are mad because they don't get that automatic "step pay raise".
Oh and by the way, just because some people have nicer houses in Cranberry it's a shame that you expect that they should pay more just because they can afford too. The teachers need to remember who pays their salary, the taxpayers and we don't forget who locked their students out of school for more money! Try explaining the strike to a 3rd grader.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should get educated on the subject. You could have been a teacher if you think they make so much. Oh that's right, you don't have enough education, time, patience and caring to do that. Your too busy sending your kid in to school with pants with holes, gaged ears, blue mohawked hair, pants hanging off their butt, and tattoos,claiming that is alright if that's the worst they do (which it is not) for a teacher to raise. I guess you should stop spending your time bashing teachers and learn the real facts, because as long as there are people with poor attitudes like yourself you are going to have plenty of quality time with your 3rd grader at home to explain it to them. Go teachers, fight for what you deserve. I am glad that I live in a wealthy district that pays their teachers what they are worth. I know because of that, my children will continue to recieve a higher level of education than yours. Some of you bashers are correct, there are many quality teachers in the Seneca Valley School District, that is how our district continually fills open slots. We take your quality teacher when they apply here. Thanks parents of the Seneca Valley School district. When you don't pay your teachers it helps my kids.

Anonymous said...

I have to say this...please don't assume all teachers are for the strike. People assume it is all of the teachers, however if you look closely it is Seneca Valley Teachers Union, aka SVEA. SVEA authorized the strike and not all of the teachers are part of SVEA. There are some teachers who feel 4% is plenty, others feel it is not enough. Please keep in mind that it is SVEA doing the harm, not the teachers.

Anonymous said...

"Other schools pay teachers holding a masters the following:

North Allegheny 95,000
North Hills 91,000
Montour 92,000 (Triple A)
Moon 91,000 (Triple A)
Shaler 91,000
Pine Richland 78,000 (Triple A)

That's wonderful. That will give you more places to submit resumes to. After all, no one is asking you to stay. If the grass is greener elsewhere, pack up your stuff and leave. There are plenty of people right behind you that will be more than happy to take your job. And, chances are test scores will not change."

You're absolutely on the money. The decent teachers will do precisely what any other working individual would do in their place: they will leave for higher paying jobs with institutions and communities that actually respect and value what they do.

This is of course absolutely fine, provided you don't mind your children being educated by the least qualified graduates from the poorest colleges. I attended a local public high school and am currently enrolled out of state at an Ivy League institution, so I have a rather unique perspective. At one point, I myself considered teaching as it is a wonderful profession, but considering how disrespected and underpaid public school teachers are, it simply isn't worth it. I plan on having a family of my own, and I am going to have to support them. You can't afford a decent college education for your own kids on $40,000 a year.

I've unfortunately witnessed the decline in quality of public school teachers in recent years. Several of my former classmates are just now entering as teachers at local schools, and being aware of their own academic abilities, suffice it to say I would be horrified to have them teaching my children. Ironically, the only one of my peers that currently teaches and is not only eminently qualified but superbly talented, just began at SV this year. Thanks to opinions such as yours, and the terrible treatment s/he's received at this school board's hands, she plans on leaving to teach at a private school next year.

So by all means, continue to insist that teaching remains one of the least valued professions in our supposedly advanced nation. I'll be out earning my living elsewhere, and making sure I never let my kids be subjected to the horribly negative impact of your frightfully ignorant opinions.

Beery Bill said...

How can one not in the teaching profession evaluate a teacher? Difficult. That said, teacher comnmunication with parents could be a guide. I well remember calling a teacher about a deficiency report. Took three phone calls before he condescended to return mine. He then said he could tell me nothing more than was on the report; and there was nothing on the report to begin with. When I asked if it was true half the class was failing, he claimed he couldn't comment. When I inquired to an administrator about the teacher's evaluation, I was told that was a private personnel matter.

Anonymous said...

In order to illustrate just how easy teachers have it- let's continue our comparison to the private sector. Picture a manager that is directly responsible for 120-150 people. He/she must spend 40 minutes each and every workday in the supervision of their training... in face-to-face interaction with each and every one of them. Add in such factors as a general reluctance to be managed, and a lack of socialization and maturity. Clearly some of the manager's charges are developmentally and/or emotionally disabled. These are people with the most basic of skills that will be expected (without exception) to achieve at a proficient level. None of them can be fired or transferred elsewhere. The manager is personally accountable for the security and well-being of everyone at all times. Aside from the training and supervision, the manager is wholly responsible for the evaluation and reporting of each individual's progress. And there are twice as many people who consider themselves to be the manager's "employers", who watch their every move... just waiting for them to slip up and do something to offend them. What do you think such a corporate manager would demand in compensation?

Anonymous said...

Please note that the aforementioned salaries are at the very TOP of each districts' payscale. One has to teach many years to reach the so-called sweet spot. After five years in my "high-paying" district, I just topped out at 41K. I hold two undergrad degrees and a masters degree from Cornell, 21 additional graduate credits, plus three areas of certification. In my district, these qualifications are not a rarity. If communities wish to have qualified and dedicated educators, they need to provide adequate compensation. Consider that a six percent raise for a highly educated teacher currently making $35,000 a year only bumps them to $37,100. I'll guarantee that one or two years of their undergraduate studies surpasses this amount. I know many teachers who live with their parents so they can scrape by while paying off student loans.
Also, most teachers I know work during our six weeks off in the summer (no, we don't get the "whole summer" off anymore, so shut it!)
I cannot believe how poorly informed some of the previous posters seem to be! Have ya been in a school lately? Do you know what we deal with on a daily basis? Do you know how much we actually care about your kids?

Anonymous said...

Fire them all!!! Hire from the 1000 applicants SV receives each year and we should be up and running by Dec. 1 Start salaries higher, go to merit based raises and NO UNION. See what happens, you will pleasantly surprised. Teachers will actually want too be rated. Go figure...

Anonymous said...

This strike hurts the youngest teachers the most - the older teachers, and the union, do not care about them at all. If you're at, say 55,000 a year, you can save up some money in case of a strike (especially if you're married and your spouse works as well). How about a new hire, who has college bills and car payments? They're the ones who are truly living paycheck to paycheck - the union doesn't care about them, all they care about is the people with "seniority".

SVEA is about screwing the young people over just so the old teachers can buy a BMW instead of a Toyota.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting everytime I read the so called "facts" about SV teacher strike. The teachers keep saying that the union is only offering 1.78% however the teachers want 4% ontop of the 2.22% they automatically receive. According to the teacher's union web site the teacher's receive 2.22% increase every year (automatically) the union wants to give 1.78% more which equals 4% and the teachers want 4% more which equals 6%, no matter how you type it comes out to 2% difference.

The other fact is right now the teachers are not getting paid, they are still receiving their health care, however they will make up those 4 weeks at the end of the year - what are they really losing? How many of the teachers put in for vacation/sick time around the holidays as our kids are in school?

And lets make this perfectly clear, we do have great teachers at SV, we have won numerous awards, so are you saying that if you don't receive 4% more in monies that all those great teachers are not going to teach - does money make you any better of a teacher than you already are?
And please stop saying how hard it is to teach our kids, yes there are some kids that are difficult just as there are some teachers that are difficult, however these are our kids too and 90% of these kids are good kids as 90% are good teachers.

Anonymous said...

Question - why did the teachers and the union call a stike in the summer recess - when school was NOT is session to aviod the educational disruption? I have heard may arguments by teachers that they do work in the summer months (both at their teaching jobs and other supplimental jobs). Stiking in the summer would show the community that you DO have a full time job and that you DO care about the damage a stike does to the education of the students!

Annie Boyd said...

Reguardless of these specific teachers' demands.. all of the people that are here saying "Death to the Unions!" YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!!!! Were it not for unions, workers in COUNTLESS areas would not have a say in their workplace. This is the United States of America... if you don't like the fact that EVERY SINGLE PERSON can be represented in some way.. PLEASE, pack your bags and move to Cuba! Go live under a dictatorship.

Student said...

" Anonymous said...

Fire them all!!! Hire from the 1000 applicants SV receives each year and we should be up and running by Dec. 1 Start salaries higher, go to merit based raises and NO UNION. See what happens, you will pleasantly surprised. Teachers will actually want too be rated. Go figure...
9:32 AM"

Clearly the concept you aren't grasping is why SV hasn't already hired those "1000 applicants" for available positions. They're less qualified, less educated, and less dedicated than the teachers they have hired. Of course, if you'd prefer running through your child's teachers like water and don't mind your community's children being educated by math teachers who could barely pass calculus, English teachers who still don't know basic grammar rules, science teachers who only took basic biology in college, and history teachers that think memorizing dates is learning, then you should be just fine.

Meanwhile, all of the strong teachers will be working in the private sector, where normal economics will likely guarantee reasonable salaries and raises, without the imbecilic input from parents and school board members who really don't know the first thing about contracts or negotiations. But it's nice to pretend, isn't it?

Personally, I'll continue pushing for reform of taxes and the finances we use in PA to fund our public schools. That way we might use some of the state's plethora of wasted tax dollars to fund a true education for our children and adequately compensate their valuable teachers.

jg said...

I was in the education field for most of my career, as a non-educator. In fact, part of my job was negotiating AGAINST the teachers union. I spent a lot of time producing memos and news releases to show how "greedy" they seemed to be, to gain support of the voting public. Let me first say is that you have to read between the rhetoric to get at the facts. Both sides show their numbers in a way to promote their own cause.

When you read about the board offering 4%, and thinking that is above cost-of-living, you need to remember one thing often overlooked. IF a teacher comes out of college and starts at the lowest wage scale, a cost of living increase for the rest of his/her career would not ever move them off the lowest pay rate. That is, he/she will be expected to live at the same standard they start with for the rest of their life.

When those in industry talk about cost-of-living increases, it is typically beyond some built-in longevity or pay scale increases. And, one very overlooked factor, is that most professionals working in industry or some other field can get periodic promotion to another higher job. If you want to remain a teacher, and a good teacher, there is no new pay scale to aspire to. No matter how hard you work, how diligent you are, and how much experience you accrue, you're on the same pay scale as when you first start.

That being said, the board's offer is truly a cost-of-living offer of less than 2% per year. That's not to mention that the teachers have worked more than an entire year without any cost-of-living increase.

We need to value our teachers and attract the best, not put out statements that give them little credit for the future of our children.

Lastly, anyone who says "Teaching is about the kids and their education, not about the teachers" needs to re-think just how that education comes about.

Anonymous said...

You keep on harping on teachers in other districts make more. You are all free to leave Seneca Vally and apply elsewhere. As far as I am concerned, it's GOOD BYE and GOOD RIDDANCE. It is not the Seneca Valley tax payers fault if other districts boards don't have the backbone to stand up to union thugs.

Tax payer financed unions should not be allowed to strike. The people who negotiate the contracts with these unions do not have enough of a vested interest in keeping costs down. As a result, tax payers are burdened with more and more and more government spending.

Student said...

Response to:

"You keep on harping on teachers in other districts make more. You are all free to leave Seneca Vally and apply elsewhere. As far as I am concerned, it's GOOD BYE and GOOD RIDDANCE. It is not the Seneca Valley tax payers fault if other districts boards don't have the backbone to stand up to union thugs.

Tax payer financed unions should not be allowed to strike. The people who negotiate the contracts with these unions do not have enough of a vested interest in keeping costs down. As a result, tax payers are burdened with more and more and more government spending."


---I addressed your first point in an earlier post, though I doubt someone with your terribly obvious intelligence bothered to actually read what anyone else has contributed to the conversation. You needn't consider anyone else's thoughts, you clearly have already considered all possible solutions and consequences.

Regarding your second point, you seem to be rather confused. The union isn't taxpayer funded. Last I checked it was teachers paying union dues out of their paychecks. Also, if you're truly concerned about the taxpayer being so burdened down by the government, then I suggest you pursue a more useful agenda than simply bashing the teachers who care for your children. Might I suggest petitioning for tax reform in the funding of public schools that places less of a direct burden on the taxpayer. Or perhaps you might demand that our federal government stop wasting so many tax dollars on insignificant pet projects and boosting the bottom lines of private contractors. It's quite amazing how many teachers, books, and facilities you could purchase for the cost of say...a certain bridge in Alaska, or one Tomahawk cruise missile, or the daily wage of a military contractor in Iraq. It is, however, much simpler just to be angry with the teachers you should revere than it is to actually think and work actively to resolve one of our nation's most serious problems.

By all means, just keep whining. You're what makes America great.

Anonymous said...

Most people do not have a clue as to how much time a teacher spends preparing for a lesson. I worked in industry and went back to graduate school to get my certification. Working as an analytical chemist was much easier than as a teacher. Teachers spend many evenings and weekends preparing. The time off during the summer is usually spent taking courses to keep your certificate valid. As for merit pay, how do you inspire a student when the parents do not even know what subjects their child is taking or what homework is due? No one will want to teach the special ed students because or students with IEP's. How would you like your pay raises to be influenced by kids and parents in which school is not a priority. How many students have jobs? Education is not a priority for those students however payment and gas money for a car is.

Anonymous said...

You have got to be kidding me. If teachers at NA are making $90,000 a year, they sure as hell shouldn't be. There is no way any high school teacher should be making that much money. Most college professors, with real degrees (PhD's) don't make nearly that much. And what's this bull s*** about wanting the school to pay for their health insurance. That's absurd. You know how many people don't have to at least contribute to their health insurance...practically none. Health insurance is expensive for everyone, but that doesn't give them the right to strike because their employer wants them to contribute to THEIR insurance.

Can't wait til that new law gets passed in Harrisburg making it illegal for teachers to go on strike. It's one thing for miners or factory workers to go on strike. If they do, it only hurts the company because people can get the products from alternate sources. Teachers going on strike is like police or paramedics going on strike (which is illegal). There is no alternate source of education for most people.

I'm not saying that the school board is right in all aspects of this issue, but the teachers have got to get their act together and get back to school, or there's going to be hell to pay.

Finally, if teachers want more money, why don't they just go to NA instead of making a big catastrophy out of this school year. It's simple supply and demand, there is a greater suppy of teachers than demand, so they have no right to ask for more money.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered the impact a large private school as well as an established very large private high school will have on enrollment in this district in the near future. Will there be a need for this many SV teachers over the length of the next contract? And also how easy is it to remove those teachers if they are in a union? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Hello all you teacher bashers. I love to bash people also, but unfortunaly I am not on your side. Everyone that states no companies pay for insurance is totally wrong, my insurance is paid for and I get paid well also, that's without a degree. Maybe you people should look for a new job and quit bi******. Hey everyone has a choice to be a teacher. I was going to go back to become one until I saw how the school board appreciates the teachers. I graduated from Seneca Valley and now I am embarrased to see how you parents treat the teachers as well.
It's pretty damn funny that Shaler School District was ready to sign a new contract, until Seneca Valley School Board met with Shaler School Board and showed what they were willing to give and now Shaler is going end up striking. What does that show for Seneca Valley? We are very cheap and show no respect for our teachers.
Hey I am all for the teachers leaving and bettering themselves. But just remember who's fault it is when your kid's education is poor. Seneca used to be a great place for teachers to work, but unless we the comunitty show our appreciation towards the teachers, Seneca will be known as the stepping stone for teachers. Well I guess you won't care as long as the teachers don't get a raise.
Why don't you parents ask the School Board why the state is threatening to take away the grant Seneca Valley recieves every year. I can answer it for you. It's because our district has banked well over the alloted amount of money and the taxes are so low. So what is our school board going to do about it? They have already come out and stated that they are going to raise our taxes every year. And that is not because of our teachers since they haven't even recieved a raise last year. That's our School Board for you. A BIG JOKE!!!!!!!
Instead of meeting with the Union Rep. the school board hides behind Tom King who is making a killing off of our taxes. Maybe we should be complaining on how much money the board is spending on stupid things. So then our teachers can get paid what they are worth. Giving Westinghouse a 15 year tax break, what the hell is that all about? So Cranberry gets more congested? Cranberry is already like Wexford. Rt. 228 is a total mess. Our population is still booming along with our taxes, but yet we don't pay our "TEACHERS". Come on people, it makes no sense. Haven't the teachers showed there dedication to the students by working over a year without a contract? I sure think so.
I think it's a joke that poeple want teachers to strike in summer. Are you people that stupid? Who would care? Your kids aren't in school so it wouldn't affect you. Where were you people last year when the talks were going? Sitting at home or at work because it didn't affect you. But now that it is affecting you, you all blame the teachers. Bull Sh***, blame the board for letting this get out of hand. Nobody knew what was going on until the strike happened. It's not the teachers fault for wanting a raise. I bet if you didn't get a raise you would be mad also. Hey it's not there fault they have a union and you don't. I am all for the strike, it is showing the true ignorance of our society.
I support the teachers because they do a heck of a job and you can't take that from them. And Seneca is just like NA in education and population. So give them a fricken raise and show some support.

Anonymous said...

If the teachers are so jealous of what NA is paying please by all means put your name on their waiting list and maybe sometime by the year 2019 you may get a call. The grass is always greener...This is a free country and everyone is free to choose where they would like to work. When the teachers at SV signed on to work at SV did they know what the salary was or was that a secret, were they forced to work at SV? I didn't think so, so now they don't like it well tough, then get out. This isn't the 1930's and the union has picked the WRONG community to **** with, we are sick of the strong arm of the PSEA and they thought we would just stick our heads in the sand and give them what they wanted. Well, I guess they thought wrong!! Go fight with Shaler or Hampton and leave our community alone!!!
PS I am in a UNION!!

einstein2k8 said...

In my humble opinion, both sides are severely flawed. The school board has made some ridiculous moves and incoherent proposals. I can't even describe some of them without becoming tongue-tied. Something to deal with comparing salaries to one school and PSSA scores to another school and having the power to fire 1% of all teachers indiscriminately? It's just a big mess.

But the union has not done much better. They say they will accept a 4% raise, but then they propose a contract with a 4% raise, with a statement about attrition savings. Under "attrition," the money that would be saved when a teacher retires gets reinvested, but under the proposal it gets added as a raise to the other teacher's salaries. It's basically rehiring a teacher year after year, and gives the teachers an average increase of over 6%. This money should be reinvested in the education of the students. The Intermediate High School doesn't have a French 3 teacher, none of the foreign languages (except some Latin classes) don't have enough books to go around, the library books that I've had to use for research are older than me (this can be quite distressing when researching modern issues such as the sociological impact of the Internet and there's not a single book with the word in it), history books are inadequate at best (my teachers won't even use them), lack of funding to extra-curricular activities, and I can go on and on.

I know the school board sets the funding for these things, and there may be a few dollars in surplus, but there's still a new addition to the Senior High School that needs to be paid off and a new football field that needs to be paid off. Based on my knowledge, it's understandable to have a couple million dollars set aside to pay for these things.

I'm not saying the teachers don't deserve a raise. I know of some who have greatly influenced me for the better and me lessons I'll never forget, and these teachers deserve all they can get. ...But I know of others who really need a pay cut. They despise parent interaction, take out frustrations with parents on the students, won't answer students' questions, and assign busy work so they make sit at their desks. I've seen both extremes in my educational career at Seneca.

On a personal note with this whole strike, I feel kind of like a captive held for ransom by both the board and the union. They both say, "If you want to see the students back in school again, you'll abide by my demands." As a Seneca Valley student, I wish I could have a greater say in what goes on. I've sent e-mails and attended meetings, only to be dismissed as a "child." I've tried appealing through my parents, but things get lost in translation.

It's a real pity when the students, the true victims of this whole ordeal can't speak out, be heard, make a sound, or say a word.

To the person who said, "I think it's a joke that poeple want teachers to strike in summer. Are you people that stupid? Who would care? Your kids aren't in school so it wouldn't affect you." That's the whole point of striking in the summer, so we don't get hurt. I've missed early admission deadlines for college because I couldn't get access to the guidance office, which hurts my chances of acceptance by 75%, and AP tests aren't getting postponed by my understanding, so I'm a month behind in my education. Graduation date may be postponed, and it definitely will if the teacher's strike again in the spring. I was going to go on a Mission Trip in June, but that won't happen if I'm supposed to be graduating then. Students who want to get into Penn State Main can take a summer school program that practically guarantees main campus rights, and it starts June 22, but that will be missed if they graduate that week. We have been thoroughly screwed by this strike, and that comment is nothing but pure ignorance of our plight. You should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr.
I am on a fixed income. I was a union man my self. Asking for this kind of raise from a union or not is out of there mind. We have Police,Paramedic, and other professional don't make what you make. Gees Volunteer Fire Fighters put there live on the line every day. Wake up Doc and do your job. The last I heard your scores was not there. That means your not doing your jobs. I am so mad at your union rep. He needs to geat the sucker out of his moth and do what the sign says."I want to teach"

Anonymous said...

3% cost of living per year and pay half of their health care package.
All they care about is money, money money. Not the kids but if ya corner a teacher and ask they say different.
But less than 2% is too cheap.

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments on this board are so ignorant. I personally know the daughter of the union leader, and he for a fact did not want the strike, but was pressured to be the leader for it as well. Also, a lot of teachers were upset with the strike and would not even allow discussions on it in class because they were so angry with their fellow teachers who did want it. The voting was very close. A huge majority did not want the strike, and the students did not want the strike (I am also one of those students), but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have the right to strike. Some of you act as though they have to be saints and do the jobs out of the goodness of their hearts... but that's the thing. It is a job, not volunteer work. If they have the opportunity to make life better for themselves, why not? It's a dog eat dog world. Nothing in life is fair. And honestly, the way I look at it, all I've lost over this strike is a month of summer vacation, which is the only reason my fellow students did not like the strike.

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