By Hallie Lauer:
The teachers at Keystone Oaks School District announced Sunday that they will go on strike Monday, as they and the district’s board of school directors have not yet reached an agreement on a new contract.
Classes are canceled until further notice. However, the district must complete 180 days of school by June 15, according to state law, which leaves the union only six days to strike.
That means the strike can last no longer than Feb. 9, based on the number of makeup days the district has remaining.
“Our hope is that an agreement can be reached and students can return to classes as soon as possible,” Superintendent William Stropkaj said in a statement on the school district’s website.
The teachers association had originally announced on Jan. 22 that they had intentions to strike Feb. 1. Pennsylvania state law requires at least a 48-hour notice for teachers to strike.
After negotiations on Thursday and Sunday, the two groups were not able to come to an agreement.
“When we met today, we came to the realization that neither one of us were going to compromise,” association president Kevin Gallagher said. “It just wasn’t going to happen, as sad as that is. I understand that this does not look good in terms of a pandemic, but this is the third time we’ve been in this situation with the district in the last four years, and we just can’t stand for it anymore.”
Currently, there are no negotiation meetings scheduled, according to Mr. Gallagher. The association is willing to meet at a neutral site off campus to continue discussions, he said.
Teachers will be picketing at Aiken, Dormont and Myrtle elementary schools as well as at the Keystone Oaks high school and middle school complex beginning Monday.
Keystone Oaks teachers have been without a contract since June. 30, 2020.
Athletic practices and games will continue as normal for sports that are in season, according to the announcement.
The free meals program also will continue with curbside pick-up at each building.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the district was operating on a hybrid schedule where students attend classes in person and online throughout the week.
Hallie Lauer: firstname.lastname@example.org