The Scranton Times Tribune online has thoughtfully outlined all the consequences of a possible Abingdon Heights strike, including where teacher will picket. Staff writer Kathleen Bolus has the story.
What’s the impact on seniors? Twelfth grade students applying for early admission to colleges and universities may be affected. Advanced Placement students will lose out on class time before AP exams, which cannot be rescheduled. Seniors who want to attend college and university early orientation in the summer could be affected by strike make up days at the end of the school year.
What’s the impact on all students? Those who need continuity in their schedules, including special needs students, may have a hard time with the transition back to school, then to the strike and back to school again. All students receive less instruction time heading into standardized tests, said Mahon. Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County students from the district will be required to attend class. What’s the impact on graduation? The date for graduation ceremonies may be adjusted, depending on how long the strike lasts. Can students continue their education during the strike? There will be no active instruction during the strike, said Moher. When the strike is over, “teachers will step up and do whatever they need to help our students,” he said. “Without any doubt, there will be opportunities for students to be preparing themselves for when we return.”
COMMUNITY How will the community stay informed about the strike? When will the makeup dates take place? Make up dates over holiday breaks, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, will be determined when the strike ends. What district positions work during the strike? Administration, secretarial and janitorial staff. Will lunch for students who regularly receive free meals be available? No Cafeteria employees and teachers aids will not work or be paid during the strike.
TEACHERS Picketing locations: South Abington Elementary School, 640 Northern Boulevard, South Abington Twp.; Clarks Summit Elementary School, 401 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit; and Abington Heights Administration Building, 200 E. Grove St., Clarks Summit. Picketing times: Within the school day, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., said Tim Moher, education association president Will teachers receive pay during the strike? No, however teachers will be paid when they make up the days lost to the strike, said Superintendent Michael Mahon, Ph.D. Will teachers health care continue? Yes, health care can not be withdrawn, according to Mahon. Last time teachers went on strike? 2003 What positions are covered under the contract? Teachers, counselors and nurses Are all education association members required to strike: The vast majority are, said Moher, however teachers on leave, including medical and maternity, will not picket. Will negotiations continue during the strike? “It’s our goal,” said Moher. “We’re willing to sit down at any time, at any place.”
What’s next If the strike begins Tuesday, the district will notify the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which will then let both the district and union know how long teachers can strike. State law allows the teachers to strike so long as the last day of school is no later than June 15, according to the district. The union can call the strike off at any time. Students will have to make up strike days to ensure they have 180 days of classroom time. If the union strikes for the maximum amount of time allowed, which could be until the end of September, teachers will return to work and both sides will enter in non-binding arbitration. Then, a state designated arbitrator will help both sides come to an agreement. If non-binding arbitration fails and a contract not settled, the teachers could strike again.