Wissahickon School Board addresses contract negotiations with teachers and support staff

During the May 2nd meeting of the Wissahickon School Board, three teachers spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and addressed the current negotiations involving the Wissahickon Education Association (the union for teachers and support staff) and the board.

All three teachers generally spoke about their commitment to the profession, the entire staff’s dedication, and the impact of the pandemic on teaching overall. They advocated for a contract that rewarded this dedication while keeping up with the cost of living. The above video is cued to these comments. Please note that there is one speaker who addresses class size after the first teacher speaks. The two additional teachers follow that.

As you will see, one of the three that spoke mentioned that the teachers had been offered a salary increase of 0.5% for the upcoming soon year.

The following day, the school board sent out an email that disputed this figure and that specific figures were being discussed in public while negotiating.

Below is the text of the email:

Dear Wissahickon School Community,

You may be aware that contract negotiations are underway between the Wissahickon School Board and the Wissahickon Education Association (WEA), the District’s joint teacher and support staff union.  As always, our Board has been working to negotiate with fidelity and in good faith.

It has been our practice not to share contract proposal details publicly while negotiations are underway. At the May 2 Board meeting, a WEA representative broke with that practice and publicly disclosed details of a proposal that we strongly feel were misleading.  We believe we have an obligation to share the facts with our school community.

The union representative stated that the Board has offered a salary increase of 0.5% for the 2022-23 school year for teachers.  This is not accurate.  Here are the facts of the proposals that have been put forth:

WEA has put forth a three-year contract proposal, proposing that salaries for certificated professional staff (such as teachers and counselors) increase, on average, by 4.77% in Year 1 of the contract (2022-23), 4.51% in Year 2, and 4.17% in Year 3.

WEA has proposed that salaries for support staff (such as custodians, aides, and cafeteria workers) increase, across the board, by 3.4% in Year 1, 3.2% in Year 2, and 3.2% in Year 3.

The Board has put forth a two-year contract proposal, proposing that salaries for professional staff, on average, increase by 2.23% in Year 1, and 1.98% in Year 2.

The Board has proposed that salaries for support staff increase, across the board, by .5% in Year 1, and .5% in Year 2.

Currently, our support staff members are the highest paid support staff of any public school district in Montgomery County (with ranges from $25.03 to $29.75/hour).  Our professional staff are also among the highest paid in Montgomery County, with starting salaries at $55,061 and top-of-scale salaries at $119,999.  The average professional staff member’s salary is $98,830 for the current school year.

The proposals from both the WEA and the Board also include a range of other issues such as benefits, use of time, etc., that also have a monetary impact.

Our negotiations will continue, with the goal of finding a reasonable contract settlement that fairly balances the interests of our employees, our students and families, and our taxpayers.  We very much value the District’s staff and their work, and we look forward to collaborating with them in good faith to find a mutually acceptable agreement.


The Wissahickon Board of School Directors