Details about court-ordered Dallas teacher negotiations kept under wraps

By Eileen Godin -
Dallas High School. 3/6/18. Sean McKeag | Times Leader -

DALLAS TWP. — Court-appointed mediator William Gross asked both the Dallas School Board and its teachers union not to discuss the ongoing negotiations with the press, according to school board attorney Vito DeLuca on Wednesday.

The school board and the Dallas Education Association began the first of a series of mandatory negotiations on Tuesday.

“My board agreed to comply with his request,” DeLuca said.

The teachers’ contract expired in August 2015, but despite both parties negotiating since 2014, no contract agreement was reached.

Negotiations are a hot-button issue with many district residents finding themselves split on the issue.

However, residents’ patience on both sides of the spectrum is waning as families have lived under the constant threat of a strike for the past two school years.

The teachers did strike for 22 days starting in November 2016, seven days in September 2017, and one day in June 2018. The union filed many “intent to strike” dates in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.

On June 21, just two days following the union’s one-day strike, Luzerne County Judge William H. Amesbury ordered the Dallas Education Association and the school board to meet from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. starting July 10.

Amesbury also appointed William Gross, executive director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mediation, to monitor the meetings.

Under Amesbury’s ruling, if a contract agreement was not reached by July 14, members from both parties will negotiate seven days a week, including from noon to 6 p.m. on weekends.

DeLuca said Gross, as well as his colleague Martin Carr, attended the negotiation meeting along with board members Sherri Newell, Patrick Musto, Kristin Pitarra, Larry Schuler and Christine Swailes.

Amesbury set a hearing date of Aug. 9 to discuss the negotiation progress.

Dallas High School. 3/6/18. Sean McKeag | Times Leader High School. 3/6/18. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By Eileen Godin

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.