Souderton teacher strike continues

September 10, 2008 3:46:26 PM PDT
A strike in the Souderton Area School District continues. Teachers in the Montgomery County, Pa. district have been walking the picket line since last week.

The two sides last met on Friday, and no new talks are scheduled.

Teachers want a better medical plan, but salary remains the biggest sticking point.

The union won't say how much its members want, but the school district says it's offering a 3 year deal at 2.5% each year while the teachers want a 4 year contract at 8.2% each year.

The starting salary is $37,000, the lowest of Montgomery County's 22 districts.

The strike means 11th grader Kelly Anderson can work extra hours at the local Dairy Queen. But, she says, the payback might be tough.

"It has meant more working time, which is good because I get paid more," Anderson said. "But, we're going to be in school until the end of June, and that's not a good thing for me."

Most sports are not being affected by the strike, and teams were still practicing on Wednesday. Still, students who spoke to Action News say they hope the strike ends soon.

"We have to make the days up somewhere," said 10th grader Jaron Gibbs. "So, this summer is shorter, but next summer will be longer."

While the teachers walk, the local Y is offering day care activities at some of the schools.

Two youngsters who spoke to Action News say they're with their mom who teaches at the Y, but they'd rather be with their new classroom teachers.

"I'm kind of mad because I really want to go back to school and learn," said 8th grader Samantha Snyder. "It was fun at first, but now it's just getting boring."

"This is going to take away vacation for Christmas and other vacations that we have," said 6th grader Spencer Snyder.

Under state law, the teachers must return to work on September 24th, even without a new contract.

There is a school board meeting Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at Indian Crest Junior High School.

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