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Back to School for HC Students!

The HCEA has voted to return to work Monday November 9 in compliance by the date set by the PA Department of Education. Here was part of the confusion: Act 88 dictates that teachers must return from a strike at a date which will permit the entire 180 school days to occur before June 15. After non-binding arbitration occurs, the teachers are permitted to strike again, pushing the school year to a maximum of June 30. However, non-binding arbitration already occurred last year, with first the HCEA and then the District refusing the findings. The grey area was: Are they then permitted to strike IMMEDIATELY following the first strike? The law does not have provisions for this. Pennsylvania law regarding this and the lack of required binding arbitration needs desperately to be changed to avoid these types of occurances.

No Progress at Negotiation Meeting

Unfortunately, no progress was made at the negotiation session between the District and the Teachers, held Thursday October 22nd. The session lasted for an hour and a half, with mediator Melanie Archangelo assisting both sides. Another negotiating session is planned for Friday, October 30th.

Teachers Forced to Return November Ninth

The critical date has been set, the date which the teachers are forced back to the classrooms even if no settlement has been reached. The last day that the teachers are permitted to strike is November 6th, which is a Friday, meaning school will resume November 9th if an agreement is not reached before then. This will ensure that Homer-Center will have 180 days of school before June 15th. The teachers must then remain in the classroom for a "cooling off" period, and then they are permitted to strike again, possibly lengthening the school year until June 30th.

Members of the Homer-Center Education Association voted to approve a strike if the school board refused to accept a binding arbitration agreement. After the "no" vote was received at the school board meeting October 15th, the union gave the notice to strike the following day, and the strike began Monday October 20.

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