The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 16, 2014

DEA packet compares school scores, salaries

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

— DANVLLE — Members of the Danville Education Association are circulating a pamphlet as part of their planned strike on Thursday.

The pamphlet contains information outlining the DEA’s grievances with the Danville school board, with whom they have been in contract negotiations since the end of June, 2012.

Click Here to see the pamphlet

The pamphlet compares the average salary of teachers in neighboring school districts along with the academic scores of those district’s students from the 2012-13 school year. The DEA contends that Danville’s teachers get paid less on average than the educators in surrounding districts, even though Danville’s test scores are the highest among those districts.

Data for the salary range came from average bargaining salary for the 2010-11 school year. Danville’s was listed as $51,990, with average academic scores listed as 94.4 for middle school students and 92.7 for high school students. The next closest salary to Danville was Midd-West, with $53,066, and academic scores of 84 for middle school students and 76.3 for high school students.

Milton had the next highest middle school scores, at 89.4, and an average salary of $54,849. Milton high school scores were 60.8

The next highest high school scores to Danville’s were Central Columbia’s, at 84.3, with a score of 78.8 for high school students. Central Columbia’s teachers were paid $55,611 on average.

Also in the pamphlet, the DEA said it had consistently proposed lower salary increases than what was recommended in a state-appointed fact-finder’s report from last spring. The entire fact-finder’s report can be found at the web address http://danvilleea.psealocals.org.

The school board rejected the fact-finder’s report as financially unfeasible.

Among the other information the DEA includes in the pamphlet is the district projecting a deficit of $2 million as of Febuary 2013 and reporting a surplus of $3.3 million nine months later, and that the school district had positive ending balances each school year from 2008 to 2012.

The financial information from the pamphlet was taken from the district’s financial statements and the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The pamphlet also includes email addresses for the nine board members and the phone number for the administrative office.

DEA president Dave Fortunato said this was the first time the teachers had a chance to put such pamphlets together, since all 190 members of the group are also full-time teachers.

“I think its information that’s worthwhile that people should see,” he said.

None of the pamphlets were printed at the district, Fortunato said.

A negotiation session is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday night at the Danville High School.

An official strike notice was sent by the DEA to the school district late Monday night.

Fortunato said the notice does not indicate a change in negotiation plans but is part of a procedure required for the planned work stoppage on Thursday.

School board president Allan Schappert said the filing “seems to signal their intent that no matter what happens (Wednesday) night, they’re intent to go through with the strike.”

Email comments to rstoneback@thedanvillenews.com.