SOUTH BUTLER, Pa. - Parents and teachers in the South Butler County School District spoke out and stood up hours before a strike deadline Wednesday night, rallying outside the South Butler Primary School, holding signs saying “Heal Our Community.”
But their efforts weren’t enough.
The teachers union announced it was officially going on strike Thursday after terms of their contract could not be reached.
“We attempted to work through state mediator and unfortunately progress was not made,” said Brooke Witt of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
“Unfortunately, the teachers left this evening without telling the board what they need to get without avoiding a strike,” said Thomas Breth, solicitor for the district.
Teachers told Channel 11 News it boiled down to a fair wage increase and better health care, but there was no movement in negotiations.
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“We can’t seem to sit at the tables and have the fair discussions that the teachers deservee,” said teacher Michael Sypien.
The teachers’ contract expired back in June of 2014. They said enough is enough and they say their demands fell on deaf ears.
“It’s frustrating; what the teachers are asking for is in line with every other district and certainly Butler County,” Witt said.
The district said there’s a bigger picture.
“Be realistic ... and understand the economic environment everybody is living in,” Breth said.
It's unclear how long the strike could last.
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