After nearly 3 years of negotiations between the Sayre Area School Board and Teacher’s Union, tensions reached an all time high Monday evening when it was announced the district’s teachers will strike effective immediately and the school board will not continue negotiations until the strike is over.
“That’s the frustrating and disappointing part, we were hoping we could meet tonight after this meeting or we could meet tomorrow or the next day. The sooner we can meet, the sooner we can end the strike if we can possibly come to a agreement,” Sayre Area Education Association President William Trump said.
School board President Jim Osborn says disagreements over teacher’s salaries and health care benefits have continued to be the number one issue during negotiations.
“Their average pay I believe was 70 some thousand dollars, the average income for Sayre I believe is 43 thousand, we’re treating them fairly we just can’t continue to pay as much as they would like,” Sayre School Board President Jim Osborn said.
Officials on each side of the issue say the strike comes after the opposing side just couldn’t play fair.
“The district just seems to be, even with our constant proposals, they just seem to be coming back with aggressive bargaining tactics,” Trump said.
“They’re doing this right in the middle of their state testing which in my opinion, they are trying to bully us into caving into their demands and they’re holding the kids as pawns in this whole issue,” Osborn said.
Sayre High School Senior Tarah Kelley says however a large number of students stand behind the teachers in support.
“Our teachers are so caring and considerate to us, they would do absolutely anything for us in a heartbeat so I think it’s time that after the teachers have time and time again stood up for the students that the students stand up for the teachers,” Kelley said.