UCF board, teachers approve factfinders’ report

OK means 4-year contract runs through 2018-19 school year

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times


The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Board of Education discusses the factfinders report during Tuesday’s special board meeting.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District and its teachers both have accepted the recommendations of the state-appointed fact finder for a new four-year contract, following the Board of Education’s 8-1 vote Tuesday night.

The Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Association, the teachers’ union, approved the terms of the report on Sept. 3, just a few days after fact-finder Timothy J. Brown issued his recommendations on Aug. 31. The terms of the proposal were kept secret, under state law, until Tuesday night.

The agreement calls for an average of 2.79% in salary and benefit cost increases over the term of the deal, although some of that increase is tied to state-mandated increases in the pension fund contribution rate. That rate was 21.4% in 2014-15, and is projected currently to increase to 31.56% by the 2018-19 school year the final year of the pact.

The lone no vote on the agreement was Keith Knauss, who argued that the salary and benefit increases were unsustainable under the Act 1 limits — and he expressed concern that it might become necessary to cut staff and program by the end of the contract.

Other than Knauss, both sides — and both had called for a fact finding process, similar to a non-binding arbitration — expressed satisfaction that a deal, while not seen as perfect from either side, represents a fair compromise for all involved.

For their part, the teachers expressed happiness that they could get back to the business of educating the district’s students.

“We are delighted to have the Board vote to support the Fact Finder’s report,” said UCFEA President Scott Broomall, in a statement issued after Tuesday night’s vote. “It marks the end of nearly a year of formal negotiations and longer than that in preparation. The report is fair and reasonable and mindful of all stakeholders involved in the process. The UCFEA is excited to get back to educating our students, which is our greatest priority. It’s important that we have a voice in our workplace, that we can negotiate terms and conditions of our employment. We are thankful a settlement is reached and look to continue to build stronger relationships with our community and its parents. This assures we have the best possible conditions for our students and sustains Unionville-Chadds Ford School District status as a premier district in Pennsylvania.”

District officials, while noting it wasn’t always a smooth process, said the agreement represents the work of community members coming together — board members and teachers — to find a middle ground that best served the entire community.

“It was important for us as a board to go through this process, to share our views publicly, to be accountable for our opinions and decisions and to share real feelings about how we view this fact finders report and the process we’ve undertaken since January of this calendar year,” Board of Education President Victor Dupuis said. “It is a formal process, but at the end of the day it is members of the community sitting on one side of the table with other members of the community on the other side of the table and coming to a reasonable agreement that we can all live with. While it took some formality of a fact finders discussions and publication to arrive at a conclusion that is going to meet the majority of our needs on both sides. I am elated that that association has chosen to approve this and I’m equally elated that we have what appears to be a pretty strong consensus on this side. That’s people of this community working this out together the way it’s supposed to happen in local government and school districts.”

Going through Brown’s recommendations, from salary to health care to work rules, the fact finder in many cases split down the middle and proposed middle ground from both sides’ positions — particularly with the salary grid, where Brown proposed raises almost exactly between the two sides positions.

Brown nixed a “carve out” provision for spouses with insurance from their employer, but backed a district proposal to end the so called “91st day” — which previously had been a half day for students midyear with the second half intended for teachers to catch up on paperwork. With technology advances, Brown agreed that the time would be better served now for instruction and will become a full education day during the 2016-17 school year.

For the 20115-16 school year, salaries start at $48,520 for first-year teachers with a bachelors degree, running through to $103,491 for teachers with a Masters Degree plus 60 credits and 16 or more years of experience.

Three board members, Knauss, Jeff Hellrung and Michael Rock made presentations prior to the vote — with Knauss arguing that the net yearly increase, when counted with benefits amounted to 4.6% annually, a number later disputed by Rock in his presentation. Hellrung’s presentation suggested that the finding was a fair compromise.

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  1. Keith Knauss says:

    I see TEResident has either not been exposed to or has forgotten about the basic economic concept of supply and demand. That’s why some workers can command higher compensation than others.

    • TE Resident says:

      That makes me LOL. There are many highly qualified teachers, waiting in the ranks, who could and would fill the Assistant Supt. position for a fraction of the cost, and you know it Keith.

      I haven’t forgotten anything.

      • Keith Knauss says:

        What a great idea! Let’s take this highly qualified teacher and make them assistant superintendent. This teachers has had great success at teaching students, but has no experience in administration. Let’s have them skip over the step of first handling the assignment of assistant principal and being evaluated on their performance. And as long as we’re skipping that step they might as well skip over the steps of principal and director of education and jump right to asst. superintendent. Hey, these are highly qualified teachers and that makes them a shoe-in for these easy administrative jobs – no experience is necessary. I use the same thought process when selecting someone for major surgery – no experience is necessary. I vote we run this experiment at your district and see how you and all the other parents with kids in the district respond. And let’s do it for multiple administrative positions concurrently so you can save lots of money.

        • TE Resident says:

          Keith, I’m sorry you’re so angry. What do you think about Jim Buckheit, executive director of the PA Association of School Administrators saying that some large districts, which have multiple administrators such as assistant supt. and curriculum directors, could manage someone at the top not having the educational background. He’s an expert. He knows what he’s talking about.

          Using sarcasm, which cloaks truth, you justify these salaries by referring to them as “hard jobs.” Keith, let’s be honest. It’s not a hard job. They manage kids, who come to school, well prepared, eager to learn and motivated to succeed, who’s parents do a great job preparing them and providing them with every opportunity and resource. They’re not even responsible for generating the revenue which supports their salaries and their new office space and all the rest.

          Gov of PA? Hard job. D.A.? Hard Job. ER nurse? Hard Job If using this as a criteria for salary, I don’t think any of these positions command the salary of an Assistant Administrator in UCF.

          I hope this doesn’t make you more angry. I’m a tax payer. I have a right and a responsibility to voice my opinion. Thanks.

        • TE Resident says:

          Before this story leaves, I would like to make one last comment Parents play the biggest if not the only role in the success of our school districts. I remember last September when a parent and Kelly Hockenberry wrote in Kelly’s column, Read My lip Gloss that they felt they deserved a detention from Supt. Dr. Sanville because they were exhausted from working so hard to get their children prepared for school and into good colleges. I know they are not alone.

          The paradigm has shifted to the point that parents believe that they work for the school district and not the other way around. And now we’re asked to buy into the argument that Administrator jobs are so hard, they deserve pay packages and compensation plans that dwarf the highest paid public servants in the states.

          A study that Keith conducted revealed that “only two factors are significant – Parental Education and Poverty and those two factors alone can explain the bulk of the differences in academic achievement.”

          Parents and their children are the reason for academic success.

          • Mike McGann says:

            TE — I have to dispute that argument.

            Certainly parental involvement and poverty are factors. But far from the only ones. My 9th grade twins have teachers this year that range from exceptional to below average. The enthusiasm they show in terms of the subject matter (even in subjects they did not previously enjoy) is tied directly to the quality of the teacher. Kids who are engaged and interested in a subject because of great teachers do better and learn more.

            So teacher quality does matter.

          • TE Resident says:


            I agree. Your argument is well stated and well written. Teachers do matter. But students from our high achieving districts are going to excel and achieve no matter what teacher they have. You are correct that enthusiasm from subject matter helps them want to learn and want to learn more, but even the few teachers who are below average are not to stop our students in their quest for academic achievement.

          • Keith Knauss says:

            Unfortunately, TEresident forgot to read the entire study and comes to the wrong conclusion that teachers and administrators don’t matter. Of course they matter and anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong. A recent celebrated study concluded that “students assigned to high-VA teachers are more likely to attend college, attend higher- ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, live in higher SES neighborhoods, and save more for retirement.”

            Here is what she missed: (How did she miss it? It’s in big bold letters on a slide “Teachers are the key”)

            “Yes, teachers are the key to education, but the teacher factors we measure (teacher education, teacher pay and teacher experience) are just not related to teacher effectiveness. The best teachers are not necessarily the ones that have the most degrees, the most experience and the highest pay. It’s the reason the President is doing his best to encourage states to rework teacher evaluation and compensation systems to include value-added performance based measures (pa for performance) rather than relying on just degrees and experience. It’s the reason Governor Corbett is investing in value added assessment for teacher evaluation.”

            It get very tiring trying to correct the misinformation disseminated by TEresident.

          • TE Resident says:

            Hi Keith, It’s so nice that you are less angry. It scares me, and probably others too when you come across with so much hostility. It discourages citizens from voicing their opinions.

            Teachers Matter. I said that. Please read below when addressing Mike:

            “I agree. Your argument is well stated and well written. Teachers do matter.”

            Please go to:http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/09/04/345503073/the-myth-of-the-superstar-superintendent

            And read: For America’s public schools, studies show leadership also matters — especially at the principal level and, not surprisingly, when it comes to teachers.

            Also read:
            But what about public education’s de facto CEOs — school district superintendents? They often get lots of media attention, are in charge of big budgets and, in theory, set the educational agenda. Some go on to lead the federal Department of Education, notably Arne Duncan and Rod Paige. Other superintendents are either hailed as saviors or vilified (or both, in the case of the former Washington, D.C., chancellor, Michelle Rhee.)

            But do they really matter when it comes to student success?

            “We just don’t see a whole lot of difference in student achievement that correlates with who the superintendent happens to be,” says Matthew Chingos, a senior fellow at the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. He’s a co-author of what’s likely the first broad study to examine the link between superintendents and student achievement.

            So Keith your right, teachers matter,

            Thanks, and I’m sorry I tire you.

    • TE Resident says:

      As a matter of fact, Jim Buckheit, executive director of the PA Association of School Administrators said that some large districts, which have multiple administrators such as assistant supt. and curriculum directors, could manage someone at the top not having the educational background.

      Read more at: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/education-degree-no-longer-needed-to-be-school-chief-1.1354558

      So if the Executive Director of the PA Association of School Administrators says we don’t need a Supt. with an educational background, I think a teacher would serve as Assistant Supt. just fine. What do you think? There are plenty of teachers in supply who would love to take that job.

    • UCFSD_Taxpayer says:

      In this “Obama Economy”, there are THOUSANDS of unemployed teachers in the local market. If the teachers in the “award winning” UCFSD don’t like the compensation package, they can go elsewhere! Supply & Demand works both ways!

      • TE Resident says:

        We need term limits for School Board Directors to ensure they don’t become partners with School Administration who co opt Directors by becoming chummy friends and then in reality work for Administrators, raising their pay outlandish amounts, while at the same time complaining about having to raise taxes on hard working citizens to pay for teachers whose pay and raises are dwarfed by the former.

  2. Carolyn Daniels, UCF School Board Director says:

    As a parent with children in our UCF school’s for the last 16 years and counting, small business owner, active community and school volunteer and long time resident – I take very seriously and work extremely hard to balance all of the interests in our community. Being mindful of our tax payer dollars is an essential and critical component for the continued success of our schools and community.

    • TE Resident says:

      Yes you do, you go girl!

      I also think it would be nice to see a finance person on the board whose main concern is keeping taxes down for the all the hard working and dedicated parents and citizens who pay for benefit and pension compensation plans, they themselves will never get.

    • UCFSD_Taxpayer says:

      The spending by the UCFSD Board has been out of control since I moved into the district in 1999!

  3. TE Resident says:


    I’m just wondering why this article is the last one on the slide bar now, when it’s listed as the first article in the list .

    I appreciate you not deleting my comments. I’m guessing it might be difficult for you.

  4. Patton MS Complacency says:

    Good for Knauss. These teachers don’t know how good they have it in this district. Maybe PVASS will help them along. Keep working hard for us, Keith.

    • TE Resident says:

      Board members voted 6-1 Monday to extend the contract of Assistant to the Superintendent Ken Batchelor through 2020. The new deal will bring his salary up from $178,199, to $193,199.

      The lone vote against the $15,000 per year raise came from Director Carolyn Daniels, who said her vote was no reflection on Batchelor’s performance, but that it was a bad time for such an increase because of the negotiations with the union, the Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Association.

      Director Keith Knauss defended the raise for two reasons. He said Batchelor has been doing two jobs since Sharon Allen-Spann, the former director of personnel, resigned two years ago, and because Batchelor is highly sought after when other school districts are looking for a new superintendent.

      “I’m willing to pay market price to keep Ken,” Knauss said.

      Read more: http://chaddsfordlive.com/2015/03/17/big-pay-raise-for-school-administrator/

      How do you justify Keith granting an 8% raise to an assistant Administrator bringing his salary up from $178,199 to $193,199? Studies show there is no link between Administrator or Supt. involvement and student achievement. yet we not only keep hiring more and more administrators, their pay sky rockets year after year piling on never ending tax increases on hard working citizens who will never get what they get.

      How many Assistant Supt. in the state of PA make $193,199? I bet you could count them on one hand.

      • TE Resident says:

        To illustrate what a $15,000 pay hike really means:

        Go To: https://www.unionvilletimes.com/?p=25076

        And Read: The pension mess: this issue has a multiplier effect. Aside from a rate spike that will be coming in each of the next few years were salaries to be flat, any pay hikes immediately boost the district’s pension contributions and it compounds over the next few years.

        This is a well written article written by Mike in March 2015 explaining in clear detail what a pay hike like this means to tax payers.

        I think it’s disingenuous of Keith to vote no for modest teacher pay hikes, when just a few short months ago, he justified an 8%, $15,000 PER YEAR pay increase for an ASSISTANT SUPT. , saying “he deserved it.”

        He deserved it? And teachers don’t? Hey Mike, do you deserve a $15,000 per year raise? I know I do.

        Mr. Rock is a professor right? I like him and agree with what he says, but you can’t have teachers on your school board. Mr. Rock has no choice but to vote yes to any and all pay increases for Administrators. (Keith loves that too) How could he possibly do otherwise? It would hurt his position when fighting for increases for teachers. His ability to remain objective is compromised.

        Keith represents and fights for the Administrators, Mr. Rock fights for the teachers, Do fights for the students (she mostly gets the short stick) and Carolyn Daniels represents all segments. You need someone in there who will represent the tax payers.

      • Sandy Beach says:

        I have absolutely nothing against Mr. Batchelor. However, I have to agree with the points made by TE Resident. Mr. Knauss has no problem giving administrators significant raises, but he has and will never support giving teachers similar increases. Let’s be fair to all UCFSD employees since it takes a village, and all district employees play a role in the success of the the district and its students.

        • TE Resident says:

          To be clear, I too have absolutely nothing personal against Mr. Batchelor. I’m sure he’s a fine person. I would make this point no matter who held the position of Assistant Supt. raking in $193,199 per year, after a $15,000 per year raise on a 5 year contract, who will make more in their retirement years than they do in their working years.

          Go to: http://pattyebenson.org/2015/09/09/update-on-te-school-district-finances-and-tredyffrin-township-declares-state-of-emergency-for-popes-visit/ and read:

          One number that does stand out for the full year budget is the $770,799 (11%) increase in the Administration budget.

          In TE, parents pay activity fees, students pay parking fees, we’re constructing a $4.8 M maintenance building, and erecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in fencing that on one wants, middle school girls on 2 separate sports teams share 5+ year old worn out uniforms (when I asked Administrators about this, they told me the girls chose to share the uniforms) Do any of you know one 13 or 14 year old girl who would chose to share a uniform?

          Now I’m learning that because we have restricted employees to 27.5 hours, because heaven forbid we pay their health insurance, our after school homework club is in jeopardy.

          All this, and there is an 11%, $770,799 increase in the Administration Budget.

          I don’t understand Keith’s or TE’s logic. Studies show there is no link between student achievement and Administrative staff. Keith’s own study shows that “only two factors are significant – Parental Education and Poverty and those two factors alone can explain the bulk of the differences in academic achievement.”

          Yet TE and Keith continue to promote Administrators, raise their salaries, shower them with bonuses, while at the same time, blaming modest teacher pay increases for tax hikes.

          Isn’t it nice that the Administrative Offices at the Middle School are getting renovated along with the front entrance in the name of security and safety. Will it match the 5 star Administrative Offices at the High School?

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