News came over the weekend that the Penn Hills School District and its teachers have reached a five year contract that followed a strike that lasted from February 2nd to February 9th. Parents who were affected by the strike must have been relieved to hear that the District’s negotiator said that the pact is "substantially the same as the tentative agreement offered to the teachers in January." Yet another example of the teachers using the strike tool to try and extract more benefits through their power to strike.
So how does the school strike landscape look thus far in the 2009-10 school year? According to the School Boards’ Association, there have been six strikes including Penn Hills. Two others have occurred in western Pennsylvania (South Butler and McGuffey) and affected over 25k students.
We have pointed out in our publications and in testimony to the General Assembly that Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of states permitting school strikes. PA even outpaced Ohio and Illinois on strikes, even though the other two states have many more school districts. PA prohibits certain types of public employees from going on strike, but teachers are not in that group. Don’t expect the state to act anytime soon on extending the prohibition.