Ambridge Area Education Association Teacher Contract Fact Center
Parent and Student Resources and Information
UPDATE – Ambridge Area Education Association Contract Negotiations
All three Arbitrators (District Arbitrator, Association Arbitrator and Neutral Arbitrator) met on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 and are scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The District is hopeful that this process will bring about a resolution to the contract negotiations.
AMBRIDGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRCT
AAEA CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS BUDGET IMPACT
pdf District Proposal (100 KB)
AMBRIDGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRCT
AAEA CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS BUDGET IMPACT
pdf Union Proposal (101 KB)
COMPARE EACH SIDE’S LAST BEST OFFER
The Ambridge Area School District and the Ambridge Area Education Association are currently at a stalemate in their contract negotiations. Both sides have entered into last best offer non-binding arbitration and have submitted their last best offer to the arbitration panel. In an effort to inform the public about the cost to the taxpayer of each proposal, the Ambridge Area School District has summarized both proposals in the table below. The District proposes a 5 year contract while the Association proposes a 6 year contract.
Ambridge Area School District Best Offer:
Ambridge Area Education Association Best Offer:
School Board President Scott Angus, speaking on behalf of the entire school board, read the following statement at the Meet and Discuss meeting on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.
"Speaking on behalf of the unanimous nine member Ambridge Area School Board, we are encouraged that teachers represented by Ambridge Area Education Association last week returned to classrooms after a strike that began a week before the Christmas holiday.
It was our hope that we could return to the bargaining table this month to negotiate the key areas in dispute – compensation and health care benefits.
However, the Union has petitioned for non-binding arbitration, which prevents us from resuming talks to reach an agreement. This process is likely to last for several weeks.
We have been disheartened and frustrated by the adversarial tone, misleading allegations, and willingness to disrupt the learning environment for our students. It is our hope that from this point on, everyone will approach this matter with open minds and a reasonable outlook.
Last month, the Board’s bargaining team came to the table in good faith, and we made a comprehensive proposal on these and other issues remaining under negotiation. Unfortunately, the Union would not allow teachers to vote on that offer.
We compensate our teachers fairly and competitively, and we understand their job is one of the hardest and most important that anyone can do. But enrollment continues to drop, and our taxpayers struggle with the highest millage rate in Beaver County.
As a reminder, Ambridge Area teachers pay only $25 a month for full family health coverage. We all know that health care expenses continue to increase, and coverage for teachers alone will cost the District $2.8 million this year.
We want to assure our students, families, teachers, staff, and taxpayers that the Board is committed first and foremost to our students’ education. We expect the Union to uphold that same level of commitment."
We received notice from PDE that the teachers must return to work on Thursday, January 5, 2017.
Health Insurance Proposal Fact Sheet
District Asks You to Compare Both Sides’ Proposals
Today, the average Ambridge Area School District teacher has a salary of $58,741 plus benefits, including family health insurance that costs the District $19,428 per year ($1,619 per month) or individual health insurance that costs the District $7,116 ($593 per month). Whether they have family or individual coverage, teachers pay only $300 per year ($25 per month).
The Union refuses to pay a percentage of their premium cost as a contribution. Instead they demand to pay an unreasonably low fixed dollar amount. Teachers’ $25 per month contribution pays only 1.5% of their family health insurance premium and 4.2% of an individual premium, leaving the District’s taxpayers to pay for the rest.
The District refuses to continue to place such a high burden on its taxpayers.
The District’s proposed health insurance premium contributions are listed below. The % listed is the percentage of the premium teachers would be required to contribute under the District’s plan. Both premium contribution numbers are based on present premium rates which are subject to annual adjustments, with District imposed caps on increases as discussed below.
* The premium contribution would take effect when the Collective Bargaining Agreement is ratified by both parties and would not be retroactive.
The District proposes to cap premium contribution increases in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years not to exceed a 3% increase above the 2016-2017 premium cost.
The District’s proposal is in line with other Beaver County School Districts. For example, in the most recent year for which data is available, 2015-2016, Central Valley School District teachers paid $80 per month for health insurance and South Side School District teachers paid $110.50.
AMBRIDGE AREA TEACHERS WALK OFF THE JOB, CLOSING SCHOOLS; SCHOOL DISTRICT RELEASES FACTUAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION RELATIVE TO BARGAINING IMPASSE WITH UNION
District promises transparency and provides timely public information via its website; encourages parents, taxpayers to sign digital petition urging Union to reconsider its wage and benefit demands
(AMBRIDGE, PA) Dec. 12 – Ambridge Area School District will be forced to close schools Tuesday when the District’s approximately 190 teachers represented by Ambridge Area Education Association walk off the job, after months of negotiations on a contract that included the school Board’s request to defer a strike and allow the Union’s rank-and-file membership to vote on the District’s last, best offer. Newly-elected Board President Scott Angus issued the following statement on behalf of the unified nine-member Board and encouraged parents to sign a digital petition located on the District’s website at http://www.ambridge.k12.pa.us/that urges the Union to reconsider its decision. In addition, the District is offering timely information for parents and caregivers who will be adversely affected by teachers walking off the job.
“The Board stands firm in its intent to be responsible stewards of public education and to negotiate a teachers’ contract that reflects the financial realities of this District,” said Angus.“Our vulnerable young people suffer when the people they look up to fail them. We know that a strike brings difficulty and undue stress to families, but we cannot bend to the Union’s unreasonable demands that would cripple our budget and, by extension, affect the students, parents and taxpayers whose hard-earned dollars support this District. A state-appointed, independent Fact-Finder recommended salary increases far lower than those imposed by the Union. We ask the Union leadership to do what is right for everyone.”
The teachers’ four-year contract expired June 30, 2015. With a spirit of collaboration and a goal of negotiations rooted in financial discipline, the District met with the Union more than 18 times. The two sides reached tentative agreements on several matters, including creative solutions offered by the District such as a $2,000-per-year tuition reimbursement toward teachers’ mandated continuing education, and recently $100 in cash for each educator to purchase much-needed classroom supplies. However, key issues of dispute remain – wages, health care benefits, and retirement incentives.
The average Ambridge Area School District teacher has a salary of $58,741 plus benefits, including family health insurance that costs the District $19,428 per year ($1,619 per month) for which teachers pay only $300 per year ($25 per month).
The Union’s salary proposal would cost the District $36,431 more in salary per teacher over 5 years, amounting to more than $6.9 million. The District’s salary proposal would cost the District $20,946 more in salary per teacher over 5 years, or $3.98 million. A more detailed breakdown of the proposals is posted on the District’s website, as part of its promise to provide timely, transparent facts to parents and taxpayers.
“Our focus is always about supporting our students and teachers. But we must balance that with the reality that declining enrollment, a flat tax base, and soaring health care and pension costs mean our taxpayers already pay the highest school tax rate in Beaver County,” said Angus.
The current millage rate in Ambridge is 75.86, the highest in Beaver County. Despite the significant drop in enrollment, the District has kept teacher staffing levels constant, resulting in the best student-teacher ratio in the county at 14:1. Yet school performance does not reflect this desirable learning environment. The Pennsylvania Department of Education ranks Ambridge High School third from last among the 13 schools in Beaver County.
“We understand that our teachers have one of the hardest and most important jobs in the world, and we believe the District compensates them fairly and competitively,” said Angus. “We simply cannot afford the unreasonably high salary increases the Union demands. Most peer districts in Western Pennsylvania have frozen salaries this year or, at best, offered very modest increases.”
In addition, health care expenses continue to increase, and cost the District $2.8 million for teachers alone in 2016-17 – a noteworthy line item in the $46 million operating budget.
“We value our teachers tremendously, and we value student learning,” Angus said. “We are extremely disappointed that the Union leadership has refused to come to its senses regarding irresponsible financial demands.”
Facts About Ambridge Area School District
- The average Ambridge Area School District teacher has a salary of $58,741, plus benefits.
- Family health insurance costs the District $19,428 per year ($1,619 per month) for which teachers pay only $300 per year ($25 per month). Single coverage costs the District $7,116 ($593 per month).
- The Union’s salary proposal costs $36,431 per teacher over 5 years. The District’s salary proposal costs $20,946 per teacher over 5 years.
- There are approximately 190 teachers employed by Ambridge School District.
- The Union’s proposal would cost the District over $6.9 Million in additional salary over 5 years.
- The District’s proposal would cost $3.98 Million in additional salary over 5 years.
- At 75.86, Ambridge Area School District taxpayers pay the highest millage rate in Beaver County.
- Since 2015, the tax base has grown less than 1%.
- The millage rate has increased by nearly 20 percent since 2010, to cope with flat assessed property valuations.
- The District has a $46 million operating budget.
- Revenue shortfalls in 2015-16 school year were well over $1 million, in part because of increased enrollment in charter schools. The number of District students enrolled in cyber or charter schools has tripled since 2009-10.
- The District has not furloughed teachers even though enrollment continues to drop. Under their current contract, teachers got some of the largest raises in Beaver County.
- Regarding teacher performance, the Pennsylvania Department of Education ranks Ambridge High School third from last among the 13 schools in the County.
Today, the average Ambridge Area School District teacher has a salary of $58,741 plus benefits, including family health insurance that costs the District $19,428 per year ($1,619 per month) for which teachers pay only $300 per year ($25 per month).
The following chart shows the average salary increase per employee per year under both the Union’s proposal and the District’s proposal. The total cumulative salary increase above the current average of $58,741 is in parentheses.
* The teacher’s current contract expired on June 30, 2015. The District does not deem it appropriate to award a retroactive pay raise 18 months after the fact.
Because each raise is on top of the raise awarded in the prior year, the Union’s salary proposal would cost the District $36,431 more in salary per teacher over 5 years. There are approximately 190 teachers in the Ambridge Area School District. The Union’s proposal would cost the District over $6.9 Million in additional salary over 5 years.
The District’s salary proposal would cost the District $20,946 more in salary per teacher over 5 years. With 190 teachers in the District, the District’s proposal would cost $3.98 Million in additional salary over 5 years.
Sign the Digital Petition
A fair and reasonable contract for all
Public school education is the most accessible, diverse form of education. Ambridge Area School District celebrates both of those attributes and extends the benefits of a public education to the greatest number of students possible. Our best teachers share this belief and support our mission.
We value our teachers tremendously, but we must acknowledge difficult financial realities of the District. Enrollment is declining, our tax base is flat, and health care and retirement costs are soaring. We’ve kept teacher staffing levels constant and compensated teachers fairly and competitively. Our taxpayers pay the highest millage rate in Beaver County – 75.86 – and we must ensure the District operates within its financial means.
Not everyone shares this viewpoint. The Ambridge Area Education Association has decided to go on strike beginning Tuesday Dec. 13, which would disrupt learning for 2,500 students and place undue hardship upon families. The four-year contract expired June 30, 2015, and the District has bargained with a spirit of collaboration and a goal of financial discipline. Key issues of dispute are wages, health care benefits, and retirement incentives. These threaten to significantly impact the District’s already overstressed budget.
We value student learning tremendously and are disappointed that teachers intend to walk off the job. Tell the union you cannot afford its unreasonable demands. Support the District’s call for a financially responsible contract.
The Ambridge Area School Board and District leadership stand united in ensuring that any teachers' contract reflects the District's financial means. We understand that many students, parents, caregivers – and even teachers – are frustrated and confused about why this negotiating impasse occurred. We are committed to providing transparent communication during any strike that suspends school.
Many of you will ask how this affects classwork and school programs for your child. Below you will find information to answer frequently asked questions.
To further inform parents and stakeholders, the District also is preparing comparative statistics regarding wages, health care benefits and other key issues that are in dispute. We will remain collaborative yet resolute in our effort to be responsible stewards of District taxpayer dollars. Our best teachers share this belief and mission.
Acting Superintendent, Dr. Joseph Dimperio
School Board President, Mr. Scott Angus
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this happening? How does it affect my child’s education?
The District’s contract with Ambridge Area Education Association expired June 30, 2015, and after months of bargaining we have reached an impasse. We earnestly sought to reach agreement with the union. However, the teachers’ union notified the District of their intent to walk off on the job beginning Tuesday, December 13th, if we cannot resolve our impasse during Monday’s negotiating session.
Many parents have contacted the District with questions related to the potential teacher strike. Although we are committed to working with the union to prevent a strike from taking place, here is a guide for parents and caregivers on what to expect:
Q: Are negotiation sessions continuing to take place prior to a work stoppage?
A. Meetings are currently scheduled for Monday, December 12, 2016. The District is committed to meeting as often as is necessary to reach an agreement.
Q: What will happen to the school calendar in the event of a strike?
A: We are required to complete 180 days of instruction by June 15, 2017. If a strike would occur, the calendar will be modified by taking away vacation days and extending the school year to complete the required number of days. If there is a work stoppage, previously approved Act 80 days will be rescinded and will need to be made up prior to June 15.
By law, days the District cannot use as school days are Saturdays, Sundays, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The District will try to keep graduation on June 9, 2017, if possible, by using available days to make up for lost instructional time.
Q: How long could a strike go on?
A: The number of days that a strike can last is ultimately up to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. On Tuesday December 13, 2016, PDE notified the District that teachers must return to work on Thursday January 5, 2017.
Q: Will my child continue to receive special education and related services during a work stoppage?
A: No. School will be closed for all students in grades Pre-K through 12 and no educational services will be provided until the teachers return to work. In the case of an extended work stoppage (e.g., beyond 10 school days), when school reopens, the effect that the work stoppage may have had on a student’s special education program will be considered on an individual basis.
Q: Will my child continue to receive gifted education services during a work stoppage?
A: No. School will be closed for all students in grades Pre-K through 12 and no educational services will be provided until the teachers return to work. In the case of an extended work stoppage (e.g., beyond 10 school days), when school reopens, the effect that the work stoppage may have had on a student’s gifted education program will be considered on an individual basis.
Q: How would we address the needs of our seniors?
A: In the event of a prolonged strike, we are making plans that would allow our seniors to graduate on June 9, 2017. We understand that many of these students need to graduate on time for various reasons, including starting college in the summer, military obligations, needing to get to summer jobs to help pay for college expenses, etc.
Q: Who would be teaching the seniors?
A: Principals and administrators in the District (elementary, middle, high school and central office) would be teaching classes. They are certified to teach and have kept up with their certifications. Although these efforts would not replicate the efforts of the staff members of Ambridge Area High School, the instruction students would receive would enable them to graduate on time. Seniors who receive special education and related services would continue to receive required services by properly certificated staff. Seniors who wish to complete AP course work may be required to attend additional days in June if the course instruction is not available during the work stoppage.
Q: Would athletics and activities continue?
A: Athletic events would continue as scheduled. All activities not associated with athletic events, such as class sponsors and student government, likely would be cancelled during the work stoppage. All field trips would be cancelled. PTA events and activities would be held at the discretion of the PTA and we will share that information with you as changes occur to the schedule.
Q: What would the schedule be for students who attend Beaver County Career and Technology Center?
A: Beaver County CTC students would attend BCCTC at their regular time.Transportation for BCCTC classes will start tomorrow Wednesday, December 14th. Students are to catch the transfer bus behind the high school on the 11th street side. The A.M. BCCTC bus leaves at 7:30 A.M. The P.M. BCCTC Bus leaves at 11:30A.M. The PM BCCTC bus returns at 1:50P.M.
Q: What would the schedule be for students who attend the JROTC program?
A: The JROTC program will start on Thursday December 15th at 9:00 A.M. Transportation will not be available for morning pick up. Parents and students are responsible for their own transportation to the JROTC program. However, there will be a bus to transport cadets home. The bus will leave at 2:00pm. Please keep in mind, attendance to the JROTC program is not required during the work stoppage.
Q: Would transportation continue for students who attend private/parochial schools or outplaced students?
A: Yes, transportation would continue for students who attend schools outside of our District.
Q: Would Wise Little Owls child care services still operate in our schools during a strike?
A: Yes, Wise Little Owls will continue to operate in our buildings during a strike.
Q: Would Pre-Kindergarten still operate in our schools during a strike?
A: No, Pre-Kindergarten will not continue to operate in our buildings during a strike.
Q: Would Prevention Network services still operate in our schools during a strike?
A: Yes, Prevention Network will continue to operate in our buildings during a strike.
Q: Would Head Start still operate in our schools during a strike?
A: Yes, Head Start will continue to operate in our buildings during a strike.
Q: Would WPPC Highland Positive Steps Program still operate in our schools during a strike?
A: Yes, WPPC Highland Positive Steps Program will continue to operate in our buildings during a strike.
Q: Will there still be food services provided?
A: Yes. Food service will continue for Wise Little Owls (a bagged lunch and breakfast) and for students enrolled in the Prevention Network and Head Start. If seniors are required to attend, we will arrange for seniors to have lunch.
Q: Will the Mistletoe Dance still be held?
A: Yes, the Mistletoe Dance will continue as scheduled.
Q: Will other Holiday events be cancelled?
A: The District has made every effort to adjust Holiday concerts and activities in anticipation of a strike so that our students’ talents and hard work can continue to be highlighted. But, some events may be cancelled as a result of a strike.
Statement from School Board President Scott Angus
Delivered at the School Board Meeting on 12/7/16
Good evening –
I want to take this opportunity to briefly divert from our agenda to address head-on a matter that soon will affect all students, parents, teachers and taxpayers in this District – that is, our bargaining with the Ambridge Area Education Association. Until now, this Board took care not to discuss contract talks publicly as we agreed to with the union. We earnestly sought to reach agreement with the teachers’ union.
However, as you may know, the union last week notified the Board of their intent to walk off on the job beginning this Tuesday, December 13th, if we cannot resolve our impasse during Monday’s negotiating session. On behalf of my colleagues on this Board, let me be clear – the Ambridge Area School District leaders and entire School Board stand united: this contract must reflect the financial realities of this District.
We are disappointed in the union’s demands which, if enacted, would set a dangerous precedent and put severe financial strain on our District and its taxpayers. Their bargaining position ignores financial realities and casts aside short- and long-term responsible financial planning. And perhaps most importantly, their bargaining position does not reflect a commitment to principled actions – the kind of actions that all parents expect from their children’s teachers. Our best teachers – and there are many in this District – share this sentiment.
The key issues of dispute involve wage increases and benefits. Despite our effort to put forth creative solutions, months of collaborative talks have come to a standstill. We began negotiating with the teachers’ union before the contract expired on June 30th, 2015. We reached tentative agreements on smaller issues, but could not agree on those that significantly impact the District’s budget.
Let’s stop a minute and put this into perspective. The state’s highest performing and wealthiest districts are not granting increases even close to the level requested by the teachers union. Under their current contract, teachers got some of the largest raises in Beaver County. And let’s look in the mirror. We have declining enrollment. Last year alone, the District lost over $1 million dollars as students left our District for charter schools. Although the District could have called for furloughs, we kept teacher staffing levels constant.
We have a flat tax base and our taxpayers already are burdened with the highest millage rate in the County. Our benefits, namely health insurance, are some of the best deals in the world. Today, our teachers pay only $25 a month for full family coverage. Just as we balance our own family checkbooks, each of us on this Board believes we must stand as responsible stewards and make sure the District operates within its means. The Board cannot and will not bend to the union’s outrageous demands. We stand united. And we urge all of you to stand united with us.
A strike will affect families in our communities as the holiday season approaches, bringing them difficulties and undue stress. The District will do its part to keep everyone informed through its website and social media sites as this situation unfolds.
With your support, we remain hopeful that union leadership will do what is right. And I want to remind them all tonight of this: our children are watching.
Thank you all – your support of the District matters to us.