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MAEA has sacrificed

October 2, 2012 Letters to the Editor

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.