It was a smoldering issue that could be seen flaring up at several Tredyffrin Easttown School Board Meetings over the past eight months as the board and union clashed over contract talks.
Included in the settlement ratified Monday by the Tredyffrin Easttown School Board is a provision that allows the president of the Tredyffrin Easttown Education Association (TEEA) union to speak at public school board meetings.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Well it's been a big point of contention because the current TEEA President is not a resident of the district. The board's rules require anyone wishing to speak during the comments period of school board meetings to live in the district.
Because of that Laura Whittaker, who is also a teacher at Conestoga High School, was never permitted to speak at the meetings. The board held firm on that posture during some of the most heated months of the just-completed contract talks. One of the more heated exchanges came in April when Whittaker attempted to speak at a board meeting regarding a proposal to demote teachers with PhD's as a way to save money on salaries.
The contract ratified Monday night includes a stipulation that TEEA Presidents will be allowed to speak at school board meetings, whether they reside in the district or not.
According to information provided by the school district, the provision is included as a Memorandum of Understanding in the new contract. Union Presidents are elected for a one year term but can be elected to multiple terms.