West Shore talks teacher contracts, building upgrades

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NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (WHTM) – The West Shore School District has a lot of decisions to make. Teachers have to make up their minds on a new contract proposal by Friday, and the board is taking a look at old and outdated buildings.

West Shore teachers stood along Fishing Creek Road on Thursday just before school district leaders met.

“We tried to present the contract in a neutral position so they can make their own decision,” union president Kevin Downs said.

Union members have not had a new contract or pay raise in two years. It’s been 740 days and counting.

“We pointed out what we feel are the problems with it and why we are still bargaining,” Downs said.

The two big-ticket items during contract talks: pay raises and health insurance.

Downs says teachers have kept their frustrations out of the classroom.

“When we go in the classroom, we are teachers and our students come first and that is our focus,” he said.

The district has other concerns: aging infrastructures. Schools were shut down recently because of mold and heat. Consultants were hired to take a look at all of the buildings.

Studies found that some schools have inadequate mechanical and electrical systems. Cedar Cliff High School received a good to fair rating on its structural condition, but its internal systems are considered outdated.

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