New teacher contract approved at SMASD meeting

At the St. Marys Area School District's Board of Directors meeting Monday, the board voted to approve a new teacher contract. Superintendent Anne Kearney said the contract being presented was the result of extensive negotiations between the St. Marys Area School Board and St. Marys Education Association as represented in the matter by association president Julie Bish. According to Kearney, the two sides reached an agreement after "many meetings discussing the current economic state of Pennsylvania and the community." "As is typical with any negotiations, we had some differences to work through. One thing that, in the end, we very much had in common was a strong desire to want to work together in continuing to improve our culture of teamwork, respect and accountability," Kearney said. With the current contract set to expire on June 30 of this year, the new three-year contract will extend from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015. Kearney also said that the St. Marys Education Association, which represents 156 faculty members, voted to accept the terms of the offer as of Jan. 26.Under the new agreementm the average teacher salary will be $53,862 for the first year of the contract, $55,146 for the second, and $56,399 for the third. The current average salary for teachers in the district is $52,428. The first year of the contract will see an average salary increase of 2.73 percent, followed by 2.38 percent for the second year and 2.27 percent for the third.As Kearney explained, the salary as put forth in the new contract ranks in the median and is comparative with those of the 14 school districts in the Intermediate Unit 9 area which encompasses Cameron, Elk, McKean, and Potter counties.