South Butler County Schools Are Closed For The Second Day, As Teachers Continue Their Strike

Mar 16, 2018

Teachers in the South Butler County School District will not be in their classrooms Friday, according to union spokesperson Brooke Witt.

South Butler County Education Association, the union representing 168 teachers in the district 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, went on strike Thursday after bargaining sessions ended this week without an agreement.

Witt said picketing is scheduled for Monday. The union and district have not yet scheduled another bargaining session.

Teachers have been operating under the terms of a contract that expired in 2014. Witt said salary increases and health care benefits remain unresolved issues.

But, the district’s solicitor Tom Breth said he is unsure what it will take to get teachers back in classrooms.

“I have absolutely no idea to be completely honest with you. Other than giving them everything they want, which we’re not even exactly sure what they want because they’ve refused to give the board a best offer,” he said.

The board provided a best and final offer this week. Witt said she wants negotiations to continue, though, so the union has not provided its best and final offer.

“If the district has taken the position that what they’ve given us is their best and final then certainly we’re not going to get there,” she said. “But if they want to continue to come to the table and work through the mediator and find what works for both parties, there’s always an opportunity.”

The school board approved recommendations from a state-appointed fact finder in 2015 and 2017. The union rejected both proposals.

This is the district's teachers fifth walkout in 40 years. South Butler County serves about 2,400 students from the boroughs of Clinton, Jefferson, Penn, Winfield and Saxonburg.

According to the district’s website, families will be notified when school will resume through a call system.