Barnett responds to Non-binding Arbitration

NEW BETHLEHEM (RVO) – Mr. Jason Barnett submitted the following letter to the editor regarding the Redbank Valley Education Association Facebook’s post referencing non-binding arbitration.

“Dear Redbank Valley Community,

I am writing this letter in response to the Redbank Valley Education Association Facebook post indicating they are requesting the district agree to non-binding arbitration so we can work towards a fair settlement and end this strike.  The post goes on to encourage community members to reach out and contact your board members which I have had several do.

The move to request non-binding arbitration makes a lot of sense from their side.  Get the district to offer their best offer, issue a counterproposal asking for more than before, and then request non-binding arbitration hoping the arbitrator splits the two proposals.  I am not opposed to going through the process simply to get my kids back in school but I personally will not be able to support any settlement that exceeds the total cost limit set by the district already.  Last Best Offer is exactly that, the best you can offer.

So with that being said, I would like to make my own request.  As a taxpayer, as a community member, as a parent with four kids in this district, and as a board member I am asking you to please reach out to any teachers you know and ask them to do two things immediately.

  1. Take a full union vote immediately to end this strike. They took a vote to authorize it and they can take a vote to end it immediately with or without any agreement of non-binding arbitration.  If the majority of our teachers choose to end this strike, it ends.
  2. Please ask them to take a full union vote to either accept or reject the district’s last best offer. Let the entire membership see the proposal and vote on it.

Lastly, I apologize that as community we must go through this.  A Pennsylvania teacher strike can only be effective in one way, and that is to disrupt people lives and hurt children to the point the community puts pressure on the board to settle just to end it.  Other than that it is toothless, eventually everyone still gets paid their full wages and the kids still complete 180 days of school in the end.  It’s only the disruption that really has an impact.

I personally feel the district’s last best offer is both fair and reasonable.  I feel it is the most the district can afford based on projected tax and state funding increases.  As such, I am asking you to contact our teachers and their negotiating team and ask them to take action on the above items immediately.  It’s time to get our kids back in school, they are already behind and this is making it worse.

Disclaimer:  These are my thoughts and represent only that.  They are not an official statement of any entity or organization.

Jason Barnett

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