Amid contract negotiations, Hopewell Area School District teachers flood school board meeting
BY JENNIFER BORRASSO
MARCH 28, 2023
HOPEWELL, Pa. (KDKA) — A group of teachers crashed the Hopewell Area School Board meeting on Tuesday to put pressure on the board.
The president of the teachers union said teachers have gone without a contract since July 1, 2022. About 200 people showed up Tuesday to the meeting, including parents.
“I want to make sure they know they are valued and thank them for what they are doing for our students,” one parent said.
“All I’m asking for is our teachers get a fair contract. We need to do whatever it is to keep our kids in school,” another parent said.
Hopewell Education Association Union President Jeffrey Homziak said so far there have been 15 negotiating sessions since November 2020 but no deal has been reached.
Homziak said they want a five-year deal and a meaningful pay increase, more than the 2 percent increase the district is offering. They also don’t want to pay more for their health care and don’t want to work longer hours and not be compensated, Homziak added.
“Salary and health care are the biggest sticking points for any district,” Homziak said. “They want an extended school year and more time throughout the week for us to work without giving us salary.”
School board president Danny Santia talked to KDKA-TV after the meeting.
“Be fair to the community, be fair to the taxpayers and the teachers,” Santia said. “I want to give them a fair contract, but it has to be fair to the whole community.”
Between 1,800 and 2,000 students attend schools in the district.
KDKA-TV’s Jennifer Borrasso: “Are these teachers prepared to strike?”
Homziak: If it comes down to that. … We don’t want to do that to our students. We want to be in the classroom.”
There are three more negotiating meetings scheduled, with both sides back at the bargaining table on Thursday.