New teachers’ contract at U-CF

Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board directors unanimously passed an early bird teachers’ contract that will go into effect July 1, 2019 and run through June 30, 2023. The 9-0 vote came during the board’s April 16 meeting held at Hillendale Elementary School.

Board President Jeff Hellrung said, "We have an agreement that shows the admiration and respect that we have for our teachers."

Director Vic Dupuis — who chaired the board’s bargaining committee — called the negotiation process "very collegial and productive process. Both sides of the table worked diligently and cooperatively."

Also, on the committee were Directors Gregg Lindner and Steve Simonson.

The new contract calls for an overall increase of 2.99 percent in base salaries as teachers step up in professional rankings. Supplemental contracts, such as those for coaches, increase by 1 percent, while the annual tuition reimbursement pool remains set at $250,000.

Total cost to the district — figuring salaries and benefits — will go from $39 million during the 2018-2019 year to more than $44 million in 2022-2023.

Teachers’ pay — based on degree and professional step ranking — will range from $50,180 to $106,191 per year during the 2019-2020 academic year. By the last year of the contract, that range goes to $51,155 to $107,391.

Directors also had a somewhat lengthy discussion on cell phone use in the schools. No specific policy was on the table, but one could be forthcoming. Hellrung said the board is not considering a ban on cell phones in the schools.

A proposed increase in the use of Chromebooks in the schools would eliminate the need for students to use phones to access web pages with educational material. However, Director Robert Sage said his ninth-grade son said sometimes a phone is better than a Chromebook, such as when a student is at a small desk with an open textbook but needs to look up a word in Spanish. A phone, he said, is easier to use in that situation. The same holds true if a student needs to use a calculator.

Dupuis said the issue, which he referred to as digital citizenship, is much larger than just whether a student should have a cell phone in the classroom.

The board took no action on the matter.

Director John Murphy mentioned there is a bill in the state Senate that would allow school boards to adopt policies allowing teachers or staff to be armed in schools.

"It would not be mandatory, but it would be an option up to the local districts," he said.

Murphy added that the bill is one of more than 20 pending in the state House and Senate dealing with school safety.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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