The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 7, 2014

Teachers, board reach tentative agreement

Ligonier pact expired in July

LIGONIER — Negotiators from the Ligonier Valley School District and its teachers union reached a tentative contract Tuesday night.

The school district and Ligonier Valley Education Association hammered out the tentative deal in a negotiating session at the school district’s main office in the 300 block of West Main Street in Ligonier.

Details on the agreement are not being released until the pact is ratified by both sides.

School board President Bruce Robinson said the board will vote on the agreement at its meeting Monday.

“I’m extremely happy that we were able to achieve a four-year agreement,” Robinson said. “I think it’s equitable to the school district and to the teachers.”

Amy Salay, chief negotiator for the teachers and a school counselor for Ligonier, said Tuesday’s negotiating session was the best that they have had  since talks began.

“I would attribute what happened today to community support,” she said.

“Both sides were amicable. I believe we got to the heart of the issues and were able to truly negotiate.

“It definitely was a good-faith bargaining session today.”

Corinne Kenna, external communications officer for the teachers association, likewise was pleased that a tentative agreement has been reached.

“Our intention was always to promote an agreement at today’s negotiation meeting,” said Kenna, who was one of more than 150 teachers and supporters of teachers who rallied outside the main office during negotiations.

“We are extremely pleased that true negotiations took place today at the table and that a tentative agreement was reached.”

While teachers and their supporters were marching along the sidewalk carrying signs such as “Still working, always caring,” many motorists honked their horns in a show of support.

The association had been preparing for the possibility of a strike, Kenna said.

The teachers have been working without a contract since July 2012, when they accepted a salary freeze.

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/FrankNews10.

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