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Abington Heights teachers go on strike

AbingtonHeightsStrike.jpg

Abington Heights teachers on strike.

They walked off the job Tuesday morning after failing to reach an agreement with district leaders.

"We did not have school. Our students were home. We were very excited about a great start to the school year. And sadly, it's been interrupted by this strike,” Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon said.

Instead, many students in the Abington Heights School District spent their day playing on the blacktop at South Abington Park while their parents discussed the strike's effects on the sidelines.

"It's an inconvenience for me. It's not life-altering. It is hard. And they just started their routine. So, to get back into it again is tricky,” Tina Young said.

Young’s two children attend Abington Heights Middle School.

The district wants teachers to contribute $80 per month towards their health care premiums.

Right now, they don't pay anything.

However, the district's education association president says they already pay too much out of pocket.

"In our last contract, we accepted a PPO. And in doing so, our members have a lot larger burden in their out of pocket expenses in health care. They pay a lot of co-pays and deductibles that they didn't pay before,” Tim Moher, Abington Heights Education Association president, said.

Mahon believes it's a fair request.

"In a world, in the United States where people are contributing far more to their health care, and have taken on this responsibility. It's out of sync that to think that in 2017, we are not going to contribute to our premiums,” Mahon said.

The district says it's willing to give teachers a two percent increase.

"When you look at teacher’s compensation, you need to look at other local school districts and what they're compensated. And that's our argument: that Abington Heights scores above all the local school districts, however our compensation doesn't reflect that,” Moher said.

In the end, parents think the students ultimately miss out.

"I don't like it! I don't like it! It's not good. I don't think it's fair to the kiddos,” Young said.

Both sides aren't scheduled to go back to the bargaining table any time this week.

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