Garnet Valley teachers to rally for contract

On Tuesday, April 28, starting at 6:15 p.m., Concord Elementary School will be the site of informational picketing and a rally organized by Garnet Valley teachers, according to a press release.

Teachers and education professionals, along with parents, plan to display informational signs and pass out literature to raise awareness about the fact that they have worked the school year so far with an expired contract. Their collective bargaining agreement ended on June 30.

The release said the teachers have been working since January 2014 to secure a new agreement, using efforts that have included state mediated fact-finding, three-day marathon bargaining sessions, and off-the-record meetings. “The goal of the peaceful protest is to demonstrate to the community and the school board that the time to settle is now,” the release said.

Speakers will address the crowd beginning at approximately 6:30 p.m. Then the group will walk in unison to the 7 p.m. school board meeting, where many will provide public statements to the school board, the release said.

In a prepared statement, Garnet Valley Education Association Kathy Petrini said: “We believe it is time to settle a reasonable and competitive contract. This is one of the best school districts in Delaware County, even the state, and the reality is these protracted contract disputes are not good for all parties. We hope that when the school board sees how many parents and members of our community want this to end, they will come to the table with a reasonable proposal.”

The statement said that although the district has worked with teachers, parts of the proposed contract “would still cause a substantial number of our members to, in effect, accept a reduction in take home pay,” a “regressive” element that is not acceptable. “We have to reach an agreement that moves our entire membership forward and, right now, while their proposals help some of our faculty, it hurts others,” the statement said.

Concord Elementary School is located at 114 Station Rd. in Glen Mills.

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