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Chambersburg teachers set strike date for Nov. 13

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CHAMBERSBURG — Chambersburg’s teachers have set a strike date for November 13, according to a press release issued Thursday by the Chambersburg Area Education Association.

“After another round of unproductive bargaining talks with the school district Monday night, the negotiating team for Chambersburg Area Education Association announced they will strike November 13,” the association’s announcement read.

Unless a tentative agreement is reached with the Chambersburg Area School Board in the next four weeks, the district’s 569 teachers and professional educators will be walking the picket line, the CAEA said.

“Unfortunately, the school board continues to demand we accept a deal that would ultimately mean 80 percent of us would bring home less money in our paychecks,” said Doug Shatzer, CAEA co-president and the district’s technology specialist. “While we hope to be able to reach a tentative agreement before a strike becomes necessary, just compensation and affordable health care are vital to retain quality educators for the district’s children.”

The Chambersburg School Board and the CAEA have been negotiating since January, the association said in its announcement. Teachers have been working under the teams of an expired contract since last June.

In September, members voted overwhelmingly to authorize the negotiation team to call a strike if necessary.

“Unfortunately, it looks like it will be necessary,” said Cindy Bowen, CAEA’s co-president with Shatzer and an elementary school teacher. “We have been trying to work with the school board to reach a settlement that is fair to our hard-working teachers and that would enable the district to retain its best professional staff for the benefit of our students.

“Our teachers simply can’t afford to take a pay cut.”