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Superintendent Speaks out About Scranton Teachers Strike

SCRANTON — The Scranton teachers strike continues on after late night negotiations with the district Wednesday night failed to reach an agreement. Now the...

SCRANTON -- The Scranton teachers strike continues on after late night negotiations with the district Wednesday night failed to reach an agreement.

Now the school superintendent herself is speaking out on the impasse.

Scranton teachers rallied outside the school district's administration building Thursday afternoon after a late night negotiating session with the school board ended after midnight with no resolution.

“We figured if we stayed just a little bit longer we would have hammered out our deal and contract negotiations would have been concluded with a tentative agreement. However only four school directors were willing to stand up and place children ahead of politics,” said Rosemary Boland, the president of the Scranton Federation of Teachers.

The teachers went on strike two weeks ago over contract disputes on salaries, benefits, and class sizes.

The teachers union accuses the district of not being willing to work with them on these issues, but Scranton Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijan says the unfortunate truth is the district just doesn't have the money.

“From a financial standpoint I believe the district board of directors have stretched themselves beyond what is even comfortable. The district really is broke,” said Dr. Kirijan.

Since the strike started, all after school activities and sports have been suspended.

“Our team at Scranton High School is number one and they had to forfeit a game. That was big to them. That's a big loss to our students,” said Boland.

At New Breed Fitness in Scranton, the gym is offering its services to all Scranton students free of charge.

Owner Jermaine Loughney says the Scranton teams have not been practicing during the strike.

“It's very important that they stay fit and be ready to play their sport. If they don't, you're going against kids that for the past two, three, four weeks that have been in shape and ready to go to work. If you're not ready, you can get hurt,” said Loughney.

Because of the strike, the annual Battle for the Bell football game between West Scranton and Scranton will not be played.

Dr. Kirijan says since that is a district event, it can be rescheduled and played at a later date.