Thousands of Montgomery County Students Out of Class as Teachers' Strike Stretches Into 2nd Day

Classes canceled Tuesday as teachers union makes counter offer

What to Know

  • Methacton teachers walk picket lines as thousands of students miss class.
  • The union teachers and school board can't reach agreement on health care contributions.
  • The last Methacton strike stretched on for weeks in 1985.

Thousands of children in a Montgomery County school district spent a second day out of school as teachers in the Methacton School District continued to strike Tuesday.

Teachers in the Montgomery County district walked off the job Monday after failing to reach an agreement with the district Sunday night. The contract covering about 400 teachers expired at the end of June.

The teacher’s union said sticking points were over wages not being high enough to cover increasing health insurance premiums. The union planned to present a counter-offer to the district Tuesday morning.

Striking teachers planned to picket outside schools again Tuesday.

School Board President Chris Boardman called weekend negotiations "productive." But, while progress was made regarding salary increases, talks between both sides went south when they were unable to come to an agreement on how much teachers should pay for their health insurance.

The parents of about 5,000 students spread across the district's seven schools must find alternate plans for their children again on Tuesday.

"We don't want anybody to think we don't care about the kids and the education that they're going to get here," Diana Kernop of the Methacton Education Association said. "But our group is solidly together."

Despite the union counter-offer, there is no set time for when both sides will return to the negotiating table. A state mediator has been coordinating exchanges between both sides, the district said.

"We will be meeting as appropriate and hopefully within the next week we will be back together," Boardman said. "But we're all reeling from the shock of the whole message."

The Methacton School District released its plans for the strike. You can find a list of those plans -- including options for temporary child care for elementary school students at the Audubon YMCA -- as well as important contact information here.

The last Methacton strike in 1985 lasted 25 days.

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