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Penn-Trafford teachers say they won’t strike as long as negotiations stay ‘positive’

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Penn-Trafford teachers say they will not go on strike as long as contract negotiations continue in a “positive manner,” according to a joint statement released Thursday.

The statement by Superintendent Matthew Harris and Penn-Trafford Education Association President Shaun Rinier came a day after the union leadership said a strike was inevitable.

“The PTEA will not call a strike on Friday … due to the progress made at Wednesday’s negotiating session,” the statement said.

The statement noted that a strike next week would interfere with the school district’s annual field trip to the Deer Valley YMCA Family Camp in Somerset County and would be “extremely burdensome” to parents, students and teachers who planned for the trip.

Representatives of the union and school board met at 4 p.m. Wednesday to continue negotiations.

“Both sides agreed to continue working together to reach final agreement in a timely manner and which would be fair to both parties,” the statement said.

The union said it will submit a new offer in time for the school board to review it in executive session on Monday. The negotiating teams plan to meet again Tuesday.

“The PTEA is cautiously optimistic that continued bargaining will achieve a contract settlement within the next several weeks,” the statement said.

The 250-member union originally had planned to vote Thursday on a six-year tentative agreement. That vote was canceled over concerns that the agreement would prevent teachers already on the first level of the 17-step salary scale from advancing to another level this school year.

Teachers are working under an extension of a four-year contract that expired on June 30.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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