Line Mountain teachers set Nov. 5 strike date
MANDATA - Teachers at Line Mountain have set a strike date for Nov. 5.
Following a Wednesday evening meeting of the teachers union, the Line Mountain Education Association (LMEA), an email was set notifying superintendent David M. Campbell of the impending strike.
Mark McDade, of the Pennsylvania State Educators Association (PSEA), said the teachers decided to set the strike date two months from now to give time for "fruitful negotiations."
"We (the teachers) are cautiously optimistic that we (the teachers and the community) can reach an agreement prior to that date," said McDade. "We're prepared to get things done."
McDade said no negotiation meetings have been scheduled yet, but a state appointed mediator, Jack Yanthulis, would be in touch with both parties with several possible dates.
"He'll produce those dates as quickly as possible," said McDade.
The district's negotiator, Ben Pratt, could not be reached immediately after Wednesday's meeting.
During a first strike, the union must allow for the completion of at least 180 days of class by June 15.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education will determine the number of days the teachers union can strike depending on which days earmarked for non-class activities like snow makeup and professional development can be used to make up missed class days.
Superintendent David M. Campbell estimated at the beginning of the year the maximum number of strike days possible at 21 days, and said that some holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, are forbidden from being used class days.
With the date pushed back until Nov. 5, this estimate may change.
Campbell declined to comment following the meeting on Wednesday.
Line Mountain teachers have been working on an expired contract since June 2012. LMEA has previously threatened to strike and has been "working to the rule," meaning teachers work during the contracted 7 1/2 hours and nothing more, since Sept. 30, .
The current contract expired at the end of the 2010-11 school year. Every employee in the district took a pay freeze for the 2011-12 school year, so the new contract for teachers would be retroactive to July 1, 2012, and extend to June 30, 2019.