Harrisburg School District, teachers union reach contract agreement

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Harrisburg School District and Harrisburg Education Association reached a three-year agreement, long-awaited since teachers have been working on an expired contract since June 2018.

The education association approved the contract Wednesday afternoon. District receiver Janet Samuels is expected to sign it during the next public meeting Feb. 18.

“We strongly believe this agreement is an important step in the district’s recovery process,” Samuels said in a statement. “We are very grateful to the union leadership for working so collaboratively as we move toward the mutual goal of providing the best possible education for the children in this school district.”

HEA president Jody Barksdale agrees and says the contract “[puts] the district on track to reach a balanced budget” and is a “down payment on the possibility of a better future.”

Almost 500 teachers are represented by the union.

The agreement looks to rectify salary discrepancies, allow the district to offer competitive packages to new teachers, and address health and prescription benefits concerns. It also looks to address issues regarding district hiring practices and salary freezes that started in 2014.

Before reaching the current agreement, teachers have been working under the terms of their previous contract which expired on June 30, 2018.

“We are very pleased,” Samuels said. “We appreciate the collaboration shown by the HEA leadership. The agreement is a critical step in stabilizing the daily operations of the school district. We are excited to move forward with our teachers.”

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