Teacher strike begins on Saucon Valley

HELLERTOWN, Pa. - October 14, 2009 The 190 educators are on strike for, what they call, a fair contract. They have not had a contract since before last year's walkout.

Some residents are upset with the striking teachers, citing the tough economy. Annual teacher salaries range from $39,800 for starting educators to $83,000 for career teachers with masters degrees plus 60 more graduate credits.

Parent Lori VanHorn came to face the picket line with her son to voice their opposition.

"They're being greedy, they're not thinking about the welfare of the children," VanHorn said.

Strikers say they're holding ground on a tuition reimbursement issue, but have made salary concessions.

"The simple fact is we've made numerous cuts. We've cut out salary request down," said teacher's spokesman Eric Stever.

"This is a last resort. There's not a teacher in this line who doesn't want to be in the building across street teaching those children," said teacher's union president Vivian Demko.

State law limits the amount of time teachers can strike so school doesn't go beyond June 30th. Still, some of the district's more than 2,400 students worry about how the strike will effect the school year.

"We had the same thing happen last year, so it kind of stinks we're losing summer and some of our days off," said ninth grader Bryan Israel.

Action News has learned the district are not far apart on many issues. But the district contends the differences could cost up to a million dollars over the course of a 4 year contract.

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