Methacton School District: Teachers intend to go on strike Monday

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Methacton School District: Teachers intend to strike Monday. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on September 15, 2017. (WPVI)

Teachers in the Methacton School District have announced their intention to go on strike beginning Monday, September 18.

But on Friday night, the high school rivalry between the Methacton Warriors and the Pottstown Trojans was in full swing as the teams battled on the football field.

Family and friends, and a grandfather seen posing with one of the football players, his grandson, gave you a sense of the pride and tradition that goes at the school.

But there was also uncertainty in the air over a possible teachers strike.

Haley Chapman, a 9th grader said, "I don't know. I just don't think it's a good idea because we should be going to school."

Freshman Matson Leggin said, "It's kind of upsetting because I can't understand why they can't reach an agreement, because you should want to do what you love, not for the money, but you should want to do it because you love it."

There has been a standstill in the bargaining process, and the Methacton Education Association has given notice that teachers will go on strike Monday if no deal is reached. Among the issues, salary and benefits, along with class size, teacher-student ratios and team teaching.

Anne Pensabene, a parent said, "The teachers need to get what they need, and we're very supportive of that as parents. But nobody wants to go later in the school year. I have a senior and want her to graduate on time."

Although the district has requested to go into a fact finding process by an independent arbitrator, the union of 400 teachers and professional staff has offered to negotiate though the weekend. Negotiations are continuing.

Freshman Ryan Cassidy said, "I just hope that the strike doesn't cut into our breaks and our times off like during the holidays when I'll be with my family."

Giavanna Gulino, an 8th grader said, "It would be nice to have days off, but I wouldn't like to make it up either."

The Methacton School District said the strike announcement comes after negotiations that have been ongoing since January.

The strike will be brief, the district said, "based on rules that govern negotiations for school districts."

"The maximum duration of any strike in the state of Pennsylvania is determined by the Department of Education. That determination is based upon the school district's calendar and the ability to complete the required number of school days by June 15 of a given school term. We expect that PDE will determine the maximum duration of any strike in the next several days. They will inform the district and we will share the same with the public," their statement reads.

More details as released by the school district:

-Announcements to our families will be provided via SchoolMessenger (email and phone), the district website (www.methacton.org), district social media (Twitter/Facebook) and the MSD Newsline at 610-831-5331.

-School closure decisions will be made and communicated on a daily basis, with the announcement of school closures issued no later than 8 p.m. on the preceding day.

-As a precaution, parents/guardians should prepare in the instance that classes are canceled. If that status should change-we will make the announcement through means listed above.

-Classes held at the MCIU and out-of-district schools will continue as scheduled, with the district providing transportation. Classes for students attending out-of-district special education programs will continue as scheduled with district transportation.

-Students attending the NMTCC will be provided transportation from the district to NMTCC. A follow-up communication will be sent to those students/families with more information.

-The school district plans to continue all PIAA athletics. The district will address other activities on a case-by-case basis. Decisions will be communicated via SchoolMessenger and at methactonwarriors.org as applicable.

-Non-public transportation will continue.

-A temporary child care program, administered by the Audubon YMCA, will be held at Skyview Upper Elementary School. Information about pre-registration for this program can be found at http://philaymca.org/methacton-child-care/. Questions about this program may be directed to Annette Bryans, Senior Director of Child Care Services, at abryans@philaymca.org or by calling the YMCA Welcome Center at 610-539-0900.

-College placement services will be available through the high school by calling 610-489-5000, ext. 25030.

-All school and district offices will be open during a work stoppage and will operate on a regular schedule.

-Outside use of school district facilities and Community Education Program classes will continue.

Superintendent Dr. David Zrbe will make a decision on closing or opening schools on Sunday night at 8.

Stay with Action news and 6abc.com for further developments.

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