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SVEA Chief Negotiator: ‘It Is Time to Get This Done,’ End ‘Sad Time’

Est. Read Time: 2 mins

Saucon Valley Education Association chief negotiator Rich Simononis said Monday that the union has submitted a “fair” and “reasonable” counterproposal in response to the school board’s latest contract offer, in an effort to end nearly three years of labor uncertainty in the district.

The board called that proposal–which was made earlier this month–its “bottom line” offer.

Simononis said in an email that state mediator John Healy had forwarded the association’s counterproposal to the board Monday, and as of Monday evening “we have not received any feedback.”

“We are hoping the board will vote on our counter offer when they meet tomorrow (Tuesday) night, as it is the perfect opportunity to finally bring this long process to an end,” he said. “If the board rejects our proposal, the parties will be back in mediation, and we are looking at a bargaining date at the beginning of April.”

Simononis said the SVEA’s latest proposal “provides no need for any tax increase,” although no details about it were released.

He panned the board’s latest offer, saying it “reflects its continued decision to play bargaining games, be unreasonable and waste taxpayer money.”

The board’s latest six-year contract proposal calls for teachers to pay more for healthcare, with monthly premiums increasing to $85 for an individual or $190 for a family, as well as a $500 annual deductible for an individual or $1,000 for a family. It also would provide retroactive pay increases for teachers, with the average salary rising to $69,386. The top-level salary under the new contract proposal would be $97,820, which would be higher than the highest salary in four of five nearby school districts whose numbers the district provided for comparison.

Since contract negotiations began in early 2012, the most contentious areas of dispute have involved health care costs, teacher salaries and reimbursement for graduate course credits.

Teachers have been working without a contract since June 30, 2012, and the threat of a teacher strike has loomed several times.

Saucon Valley teachers last went on strike in 2009, and before that, in 2008 and 2005.

“The concessions we offer are significant,” Simononis said in the email Monday. “We make them now because we recognize that it is time to get this done. We are trying very hard to bring these negotiations to a close. We encourage the school board to adopt our proposal and put an end to this sad time in Saucon Valley.”

Tuesday night’s school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the high school Audion room. Meetings are also livestreamed on YouTube. To watch, visit the school board’s Agenda page and click on “Watch” next to the day’s meeting date.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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