The Somerset Area School District has crossed several major hurdles in developing a better financial plan for the future.
Over the last year the district closed its elementary schools in Friedens and Sipesville and approved the final sale of those buildings Monday evening. Scott Zimmerman of Friedens, owner of Piles Concrete, bought the Friedens school for $150,000 and Tom Flannery of Sipesville purchased the other school for $137,500.
Another hurdle that appears to be cleared involves a new contract for the teachers.
The board approved a tentative three-year pact with the education association that expires June 30, 2014.
The new contract increases the deductibles for health insurance to a point where it saves the district $178,000 in the first year.
The education association also agreed to substantially less salary increases, including a two-year pay freeze for those with at least 21 years of service. In the final year, the raise would be $500.
The education association is to be commended for working within the budgetary constraints of the school board and local taxpayers. School districts are the hub of each community for activities and events and it's a relief to know that a new accord has been reached.
Now that the labor contract and the sale of the two vacant buildings are finalized, the school and the community can remain focused on education and the future needs of the students.
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