SCRANTON, Pa. — Members of the Scranton Federation of Teachers, parents, and students filled the auditorium at Scranton High School Monday night after negotiations with the school board prior to the meeting did not result in an agreement, and teachers plan to strike on Wednesday.
Teachers in the school district have been without a contract since 2017. In the district's budget, there is no pay raise for teachers, a contentious point of the union's reason for the strike.
"District administration and school board remain committed to settling a contract that is both fair, affordable, and sustainable with both our teachers and paraprofessionals," said Misty McTiernan, superintendent.
"To those of us who are making $37,000 with a master's degree as teachers in Scranton School District, it matters, but that's the problem, isn't it? You're making decisions for teachers and students you know nothing about," said McTiernan.
"There can be no school district without the teachers, and this district is having a difficult time finding teachers who want to work. True leadership is respecting and taking care of the people who are doing the job," said Paxton Hartman, student.
The meeting was littered with outbursts of boos and cheers. Teachers were also upset with the plan for healthcare in the budget.
"The deductible is astronomical, meaning we would be paying 100% out of pocket for any medical expenses until that deductible was satisfied, which can be 1000s and 1000s of dollars depending on the size of your family," said a Scranton teacher.
"This board is cutting healthcare benefits its heartless, and it's a first in school district history," said Patrick Festa, Scranton teacher.