COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (CBS) – Perkiomen Valley Schools were about to stay dark a few more days as the teachers’ union neared a strike that would have shut down the schools on Tuesday.
Negotiations started 13 or 14 months ago with the teachers’ union planning to go on strike because they couldn’t reach an agreement with the school board.
However, with less than two days until the work stoppage, the union and school board came to a tentative agreement.
“We cannot disclose any of the details, but we’re really pleased to come to an agreement and show some unification, and continue the educational programs without disruption,” said Lynn Bigelow, the school board president.
The two sides negotiated for five hours Sunday. Before reaching the agreement, they warned it is not final, but it does let everyone move forward.
“It has been a long process, but you know, the collective bargaining process does work and we have averted the work stoppage,” said Garreth Heidt of the Perkiomen Valley Education Association.
“We are glad to be getting back to doing what we do best which is being in the classroom and teaching,” said Heidt.
The union represents nearly 450 teachers and other employees in the district, and the schools handle 6,000 students. Those students were making plans for school closures.
“They gave us work to do in case there was a strike,” said Emily Wilson, a senior student.
The agreement reached Sunday night avoids the strike and allows the schools to return to a regular schedule. The teachers’ union and the board say they look forward to focusing on classes instead of contracts.
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Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3