Harrisburg School District, teachers association at impasse over grievance settlement

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Harrisburg School District gave reason Tuesday as to why it decided to refuse a grievance settlement with the Harrisburg Education Association (HEA) from January 23.

The HEA claimed that the settlement would cost the school district $717,000, while the school district said it would have a first-year cost of $1.1 million and possibly more due to base salaries of teachers that would increase.

The school district cited costs being a “budget buster and excessive.”

The HEA claims that the grievance stemmed from school district’s hiring practices and salary freezes that date back to 2012, noting that teachers are working under the terms of its previous contract that expired in June.

But the school district said that the Amended Recovery Plan imposed by the PA Department of Education limits how much the district can offer in terms of compensation over the years of a contract.

The school district also mentioned how the settlement wouldn’t fix the teacher turnover problem, which the HEA says that 88 teachers left between May and September.

The school district didn’t dismiss that, saying that it has been experiencing turnover for those with starting salaries up to approximately five years of service. Though, pays its veteran teachers well.

“Teachers who work in excess of five years are not leaving the employ of the district because the more veteran the teacher is at Harrisburg, the more competitively they are paid under the negotiated salary schedule,” a portion of the school district’s statement said.

A bargaining session is scheduled for April 4.

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