Bethel Park teachers back to bargaining table |

Bethel Park teachers back to bargaining table

Bethel Park teachers and administrators returned to the bargaining table this morning, with teachers and parents each finding new ways to cope as the teacher strike marches toward its fourth week.

Negotiators for the school district and the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers headed to their third bargaining session since the strike began Oct. 25, while picketing teachers and protesting parents took up their spots on opposite corners in front of the district administration building.

Teachers set up large boxes this morning at several of the picketing locations to collect food for the South Hills Interfaith Ministries, which normally conducts its food drive in the Bethel Park Schools at this time of year.

Nicole Lobig, a teacher at Neil Armstrong Middle School, was working to set up a toy drive for SHIM’s “Angel Emporium” gift exchange for needy families, which normally collects money and toys at Armstrong.

“We usually raise about $8,000 a year, so we’re setting that as our goal,” Lobig said.

Parents, meanwhile, were turning to area churches and community centers for child care and activities for students still out of school. Seniors returned Monday for classes at Independence Middle School, taught by 13 principals and administrators, so they could get enough instructional time to graduate by June 4.

If no settlement is reached today, more negotiations have been tentatively scheduled for next Monday.

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