The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 30, 2012

Portage teachers, board OK contract

PORTAGE — After working for five months without a contract, the 72 teachers in the Portage Area School District now have an agreement that gives them a pay raise while they pick up a greater share of health care costs.

“We think it’s a contract we can live with,” James Johnson, president of the Portage Area Education Association, said minutes after the school board, in a special meeting, voted 8-0 to approve the three-year pact.

The union earlier voted 54-7 in favor of the agreement, Johnson said.

District teachers will receive average annual pay raises of 2.72 percent, which equates to an average increase of $1,275 annually. That’s down from the $1,840 annual increase they received during each of the prior contract’s last five years, district Superintendent Richard Bernazzoli said.

School board President Kathy Hough was pleased to see an end to the negotiations, which began in January.

“We feel we did the best for the teachers, our school district and the taxpayers,” she said.

“It was negotiations. There were concessions on both sides.”

The deal eliminates an incentive for the district to continue paying its share of health care costs for retiring teachers until they reach 65, the eligibility age for Medicare.

Additionally, the teachers will pick up a greater share of health care costs, with in-network and out-of-network deductibles more than doubling.

Information from the board shows the increased teacher share of the deductible could result in an annual savings to the district of $60,000 to $112,000.

Changes were made in the new contract regarding personal days and sick leave, and the language was tightened up regarding bereavement time.

Teachers agreed to add a meet-the-teacher night in early September during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.

Dennis Squillario was the only board member to voice any dissatisfaction with the contract. While voting in favor of the plan, he said it was with regrets.

When questioned later about his vote, Squillario said: “I didn’t like the deal.” He refused to provide any specifics.

Only eight of the nine school board members voted on the contract because 20-year board member Stu Leman recently died.

Following the meeting, members met with six district residents who wrote letters indicating their interest in filling the vacancy created by Leman’s death.

Hough said the board anticipates reaching a consensus with approval of the new member likely at the Dec. 12 meeting.

Leman’s term was to expire at the end of 2013. The person who is named to the post will have to circulate petitions and be a candidate in the 2013 election in order to continue to serve.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • fire_23 Investigators seek cause of West End fire

    The cause of a five-alarm fire early Monday at a vacant structure in the 500 block of Dorothy Avenue in Johnstown’s West End has not been determined, according to city fire officials.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richland seeks loan for roof, HVAC work

    Richland Township’s plans to replace the municipal building’s roof and heating and air conditioning system will cost nearly $600,000, Solicitor Gary Costlow said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Undocumented children already arriving in state

    An influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border is spilling over into Pennsylvania, as state officials received word Monday that more than 500 are being housed in the commonwealth.

    July 22, 2014

  • Auditor cites flaws in gas drilling regulation

    Strained by limited resources and the rapid expansion of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, environmental regulators have failed to adequately monitor well safety or to provide clear and timely information to citizens, the state auditor general said Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Driver in fatal DUI crash will serve jail time

    A Vintondale man was sentenced Tuesday in Cambria County court to serve 16 to 32 months in the county jail for a 2011 alcohol-related crash that killed a woman.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 22, 2014

  • Reade Twp. water projects receive funding

    Three water treatment systems in Cambria County will receive financial assistance from the state Department of Environmental Protection to remove acid mine drainage from nearby waterways.

    July 22, 2014

  • stoystown Tractor Fest Antique tractors chugging toward Stoystown fest

    A display of a whole lotta horsepower and pulling contests will highlight the 14th annual Antique Tractor Festival.
    Sponsored by Stoystown Lions Club and Laurel Highlands Antique Power Club, the event will be held July 31 through Aug. 3 at the Lions’ park, one-half mile east of Stoystown on Route 30.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Irish dance school wants to set toes tapping in Cambria County

    If you ever wanted to learn to dance an Irish jig, now is your chance.
    Kenny Cavanaugh School of Irish Dance, based out of Milford, Pike County, is expanding into Cambria County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Paterno son, other former assistant sue Penn State for $1M

    A son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has sued the university over his dismissal from its coaching staff two years ago, saying he has been unfairly linked to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

    July 22, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads