West Chester Area School District Board Approves New Teachers’ Contract
The West Chester Area School District Board of School Directors and the West Chester Area Education Association have agreed to a new five-year contract that will be in effect from the expiration of the current bargaining agreement on June 30, 2022 until June 30, 2027.
“We are extremely pleased to have come to this agreement through very amicable negotiations,” said School Board President Chris McCune. “This contract provides a competitive salary structure while also maintaining fiscal integrity for the school district and its taxpayers.”
“Negotiations require trust and an open dialogue,” said Michele Curay-Cramer, President of the West Chester Area Education Association (WCAEA). “In representing more than 1000 district educators, we must as a union balance the competing priorities of our members and understand what the District’s priorities are as well. I am pleased we were able to accomplish this agreement, not only for our members, but for all the District’s stakeholders.”
The average salary increase including supplemental contract payments during the five-year period is 3.5%. Starting salaries will increase from the current $46,000 to $51,670 in year one of the contract while a teacher with maximum years of experience holding a doctorate degree will go from earning $102,800 to $105,824.
“With the current shortage of teachers, an increase in the starting salary will allow the district to maintain its competitiveness to attract and retain new, highly qualified teachers,” said Dr. Bob Sokolowski. “We’re extremely fortunate to have such a talented, dedicated teaching staff in the classroom with our students every day.”
Under the new contract, a high-deductible medical plan will be the core plan for all employees. The contribution toward healthcare for employees will increase from 9% to 11% over the span of the contract. Employees will be offered other health care plans as a buy-up option. The changes will reduce anticipated healthcare costs to the school district by more than $7 million over the span of the contract. That savings helps to offset the salary increases in the contract.
“West Chester Area School District in many ways sets the standard for what happens in Chester County’s public schools,” said Scott deLone, WCAEA’s chief negotiator. “The association believes the contract meets the needs of our members and provides security for the next several years. I’m proud of the work our team achieved during these negotiations.”
Early negotiations began in June, 2021. Teachers ratified the contract agreement on Monday, September 20 and the Board publicly approved it on Monday, September 27.