CLARKS SUMMIT — According to Abington Heights School Board Vice President Warren Acker, members of the district’s negotiating committee met twice informally with members of the Abington Heights Education Association since the last board meeting to exchange ideas on current issues concerning teacher negotiations.
“I think those meetings were very helpful and constructive,” Acker said. “We have no formal proposals on the table, but we are continuing those discussions. I think everybody is working very hard to come to some resolution.
“Should we have a strike, it won’t be because of lack of effort by either side.”
Jim Maria, president of the Abington Heights Education Association who is going on sabbatical at the start of the second semester of the school year, agrees that negotiations are moving in the right direction.
“We’ve recently made much more progress than in previous talks,” he said. “Throughout the summer, we made some major breakthroughs. There have been very open and honest discussions by each side.”
Student Representative Rebecca Fallk voiced concerns from herself and fellow students regarding rumors of a potential strike.
“As a senior, I know a college I’m looking at and a course that I might want to take requires summer classes that start in the middle of June,” she said. “If there’s any strike…I can’t take those or be at graduation. I think that will cause a lot of problems for a lot of students.”
Abington Heights teachers have been working without a contract since their last one expired on Aug. 31, 2011.
In regard to class sizes, Abington Heights Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Mahon announced that the district’s largest class size is currently 27 students in second grade. He added the lower end of class sizes range from the teens to mid 20s
“The class sizes remain in flux,” Mahon said. “We’ve had both increases in some areas and decreases in others. The numbers change almost daily now as we head into the start of the new year. We are continuing to monitor it very closely. Our greatest concern is at second grade.”
Mahon said progress is being made on contsruction of the tennis courts at the middle school. The girls’ tennis team is playing all of their matches on the road as work continues.
“We hold some hope that before the end of the season, the courts will be open,” Mahon said.
Also, a pre-bid meeting has been set for Sept. 5 in regard to construction at the high school pool.
Drainage pipes were installed on the soccer field at Clarks Summit Elementary School after several games had to be postponed or moved due to unplayable conditions in recent years.
A Back-to-School Carnival, hosted by members of the National Honor Society, will be held Thursday, Aug. 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the high school. Admission to the carnival is free. Food will be available for purchase, including items from the What the Fork food truck.
The first day of school for students is Wednesday, Sept. 4. Class lists will be available for elementary and middle school students on the front door window of each school building on Friday, Aug. 30.