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Valley News Dispatch

29 New Ken-Arnold teachers on furlough list

Madasyn Czebiniak
WEBValleyHighSchool02
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review

It’s deja vu in the New Kensington-Arnold School District.

School directors on Thursday voted to furlough more than two dozen teachers — including 22 active teachers and seven teachers who currently are laid off — at the end of the school year.

There were no dissenting votes.

No one on the board commented during the votes, nor did anyone in the audience address the furloughs.

The agenda cited school consolidation, enrollment declines and expected program cuts as reasons for the move.

Superintendent John Pallone said the district is required to announce its list for furloughs by May 1, even though the district’s budget isn’t finalized until June 30, because of its contract with the teachers.

“We really don’t know what we’re going to have structured until after the budget’s been finalized — what programs we’re going to continue, which programs we aren’t going to continue,” Pallone said after the meeting. “In order to be compliant with the collective bargaining agreement, we have to take an expanded approach that this is potentially what we (might) have to do.”

“We have to do it this way. It seems silly, but talk to the bargaining unit about that; they wanted the language in the contract.”

Historically, most teachers have been recalled.

Last May, the district initially said 37 teachers would be furloughed, but recalled most of them when the budget was finalized in June.

About a dozen remained furloughed at the start of the current school year.

In 2016, the board said 21 teachers would be furloughed — 18 were ultimately called back.

In 2015, 24 teachers were cut before the board brought back all but three ahead of the school year. The same thing happened in 2011.

More than 20 teachers were on the furlough list in 2014, but all were recalled.

Teachers union President Connie Vita attended the meeting, but couldn’t say how many other teachers may have been there.

“There were a few,” she said after the meeting.

Vita said the situation can be “demoralizing” for teachers, but it is one they have come to expect.

“This is just what happens now,” she said.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, [email protected], or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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