After bringing negotiations for a new contract before a factfinder, Loyalsock Township School District and Loyalsock Township Education Association both have agreed to accept the report that was produced from the Nov. 2 meeting.
According to the district, negotiations between the two parties had been on-going since January. The teachers were working under its recently expired contract since the beginning of the current school year.
According to the report compiled by State College factfinder Robert C. Gifford, there were 14 topics that the two parties could not agree upon, which included salary, health insurance and work days
In the report, Gifford said his recommendations were a "compromise" between the two parties and "the impact of the issues in their entirety was given careful consideration."
The district's school board voted at its Dec. 5 reorganization meeting to accept the recommendations. In an email confirmation, the association also said it voted to accept the report, making the report an effective contract between the two parties.
Gifford's recommendation on salary will mean an increase in pay for the association's members.
The previous salary payment followed a 16-step schedule, which accounted for years of service in the district and level of education. For each year of service, an individual's salary increased by $1,867.
The association proposed shortening the schedule to 15 steps, but also increasing the total base payroll by 3 percent, each school year. It cited the fact that the district's local tax revenue has increased by an average of 0.3 percent each year from 2006 to 2011. It also reported that although actual expenditures exceeded budgeted expenditures, so did revenues.
The district proposed an increase over the next three years in total base payroll that would average to a 1.77 percent increase. It also did not want any movements in the schedule for the current school year and only half-year movements during the next two. The district used other local district as models on the topic.
Gifford recommended an increase, which would average out to about 2.3 percent over the next three years. He said the district maintains a "very healthy" fund balance, but also considered the upcoming costs for insurance and retirement.
"These figures are affordable and will keep the (salary) at competitive levels within the comparison group," Gifford said in the report.
The district will continue to offer the same health insurance plans for the remainder of the year, but the employees' contribution rate will increase from 14 percent to 16 percent on Jan. 1, and then to 18 percent July 1, 2013, according to the report.
Gifford also declined to recommend a proposal by the association that would decrease the days worked by teachers from 190 to 188 and professional development days by three. But he did recommend a change that both sides agreed upon, which decreases days worked by guidance counselors from 210 to 195.
"I believe the recommendations above represent a reasonable, acceptable compromise to the outstanding issues," Gifford said in his summary of the report.
Both the district and association declined to give any further comment on the issue.