Pottsville Area school board approves 3-year teachers contract

·4 min read

Jul. 14—POTTSVILLE — Members of the Pottsville Area School District's teachers union will move up the pay scale over the course of a new three-year contract.

Board members approved the contract between the district and the Pottsville Area Education Association at Wednesday night's meeting.

Voting in favor of the new contract were board President Michael Cardamone, Vice President Ann Blankenhorn, Stephanie Buchanan, Craig Shields, Bob Thomas, Jerome Urban and, participating virtually, Ashley DeWitt and Linda Wytovich. Harry Ciavarella was absent.

The teachers have already approved the contract.

Under the pact, which runs retroactively from July 1 to June 30, 2025, the union's 172 members, except those on the last step, move up one step on the 15-step salary schedule on the first pay period of the 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years.

The contract also includes $600 in compensation for virtual instruction for the upcoming school year.

The health care insurance premium share per pay period during the contract is $28 for a single person, $41 for a two-person family and $44 for a family.

In addition, the district provides dental insurance through Pennsylvania Blue Shield, vision insurance through the Pennsylvania State Education Association Health and Welfare Fund and $25,000 in group life insurance. Those who choose to opt out of the health care benefits program receive an annual payment of $5,000.

Members have four personal days during the school year, with those working six years or more for the district getting five personal days. Teachers are allowed to carry over unused days as long as no more than 10 days are used. No more than four teachers from each school are allowed to be absent on one day.

Those with more than 10 unused personal days at the start of a school year will have them added to unused sick time.

Members are also entitled to pay during sick leave for up to 10 days, and the association can also establish a sick leave bank for members who have accrued 30 sick days at the start of the school year. Those working 10 years, five of them with the district, can take a sabbatical, receiving one-half of their regular salary.

Teachers will also be compensated for any extracurricular or co-curricular activities.

Those who work in the district for 10 years or more will get a retirement severance based on accumulated sick days, with the amount ranging from $35 per day for members with one to 99 sick days, to $90 for those who have 250 days or more.

A $15,000 lump sum payment will be given to any teacher retiring after 25 years and school personnel retiring after 10 years.

The contract states employees have to be on duty for seven hours a day, including for lunch periods, with the school year going for 184 days, 180 of which are for students. If an employee is suspended or furloughed, they have the right to a hearing.

The association cannot strike, while the board won't conduct a lockout during the contract.

The previous four-year contract expired on June 30 and had covered from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2022.

New principal

Board members also agreed Wednesday to hire Kerri Lubinsky as principal of John S. Clarke Elementary Center. Lubinsky, whose start date is contingent upon leaving her current employer, will earn a $91,000 salary.

A native of Saint Clair and a Pottsville Area High School graduate, Lubinsky has worked as an assistant elementary school and assistant middle school principal in the Reading School District for eight years, currently working as assistant principal at Northeast Middle School. She also taught for 10 years in the Saint Clair Area School District. She earned her bachelor's degree at Penn State Schuylkill, and master's degree and principal certification from Alvernia University

She lives in Pottsville and has a son, Cody, who also graduated from Pottsville Area High School and is a scientist in Philadelphia.

Lubinsky succeeds Michael Maley, who left the post last month to become principal of Minersville Area High School.

The board approved his resignation, effective June 30.

She said before the meeting that becoming the elementary center principal in her home school district has been a "lifelong aspiration" and she looks forward to "building positive and lasting relationships with staff, students, families and the community of John S. Clarke."

In other business, the board approved the district's health and safety plan for the upcoming school year.

(Updated to correct that DeWitt and Wytovich participated virtually.)

Contact the writer: clee@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6028; @Cleespot on Twitter