I would like to follow up on the Sept. 19 letter headlined “Mars saved $7 million.”
In addition to giving in to Mars School District demands in the collective bargaining agreement covering 1996-2001, the Mars Area Education Association has a long history of addressing the needs of the community.
For example, the agreement covering 2001-06 included freezes in step movement on the salary scale. That was done to eliminate the so-called “jump-step” that exists in many teachers contracts.
As a result, it will take 25 years to reach the top salary, not 17 years.
In the next agreement, a fact-finder’s report was accepted by both sides that included higher co-pays and deductibles that resulted in significant savings to the district.
For the 2011-12 school year, the Mars Area Education Association volunteered to accept a pay freeze in order to prevent the furloughing of two technology coaches. A freeze in wages was something Gov. Tom Corbett suggested might solve some of the financial difficulties facing school districts.
These sacrifices were made even as the district has been experiencing a tremendous growth in population.
Many residents might be unaware of this history, and I think it is important to know these facts.