Home > Hatboro-Horsham School District > To Strike Or Not To Strike?

To Strike Or Not To Strike?

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

That’s the question most people are asking about Hatboro-Horsham’s teachers and staff members.

It’s been six years since the last teacher strike in HH and the most recent strike prior to the aforementioned dated back twenty years prior.

The 2003 teacher strike left students out of school for over two weeks. As a student who was a member of the district during the strike,

I hold a keen memory to the events and the jubilation I felt when someone actually told me what was going on.

The strike in 2003 was met with mixed reviews from townspeople with most of them being negative.

It was not an uncommon site to see people shouting profanities at picketers.

The strike of 2003 left about 5,600 students out of school for two and a half weeks and extended the 03-04 school year into July.

A strike this year would leave about 5,000 students out of school.

With a strike not being a foreign idea to those of Hatboro-Horsham, the method that the Teachers Union of HH is using, is foreign to the district.

When the heavily fought for contract of 2003 expired in 2008, the teachers went to negotiating with the school board. Since then, two years later, talks have made little to no progress and action is starting to be taken on the part of the teachers AND the district.

Last year, the teachers of HH decided to stop running all after-school activities saying that they “…weren’t a part of their contract and not part of their job description.”

This left a lot of students frustrated and left even more in emotional turmoil when the teachers also announced that some, not all, would cease to write letters of recommendation until a new contract agreement was met.

The school district responded by bringing all of the clubs and sports back to life with new mentors and coaches. They are all currently being operated.

One week before the school year of 2010 was about to start, the school district made another bold move and, unannounced to the teachers, developed a day care program that would go into effect in the case of a strike.

After forming such group, an email blast was sent to all parents of HH students.

In an interview about the current contract issues and impending strike, Robin Farr, teacher at Hatboro-Horsham, divulged the current plans of the teachers.

When asked directly if a strike was planned she said, “No. It is not part of our plan right now and it hasn’t been thus far.” She said that working on the old, expired contracts was difficult because of the raised cost of living.

When asked about what the teachers were looking for out of a new contract, she said that they ask for a modest pay raise and slightly adjusted health care, a rather small change to the existing contract.

In closing of the interview however Robin divulged that “A strike is always in our bag of tricks… but we only use it as a last resort.” When that last resort is, she didn’t say.

For now, a strike is still up in the air but until then, negotiations will stay under way as they have been for the last two and a half years.   

Wayne Arminavage II (warminavage@buxmontnews.com)
Staff Writer
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