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Teachers assured contract negotiations are on positive track

Palisades School District talks have been ongoing for four months


While frustration simmers among teachers and other professional staff, about their “lack of contract,” Palisades School District officials have noted some optimism about the negotiations.

Talks have been ongoing for four months, with the teachers and other staff having agreed to extend their previous contract for one year for the meantime. As is customary with municipal government personnel matters, public information was not available on the issue details.

During his ad hoc Professional Staff Negotiations Committee report at the Oct. 19 public school board meeting, committee chair James Hallowell noted that “the lawyers are talking to each other, and we hope to have more information soon.” The staff is represented by the Palisades Education Association (PEA)

During the public comment session later in the meeting, professional staff member Dr. Amy Glascott, speaking for the PEA, expressed “frustration at the lack of (new) contract,” and called on the board to recall extraordinary efforts by teachers and other staff during the past two and a half years, particularly as related to the pandemic.

Among several particular accomplishments Glascott listed were enabling the district to be the “first in the area” to offer alternative means for students to participate as schools remained open, and developing innovative methods for effective online participation, while risking exposure to the virus for them and their families. At the conclusion of her remarks, she received an extended ovation from dozens of teachers and other professional staff in attendance.

Later in the meeting, board Vice President Sylvia LeBlanc, who serves on the negotiating committee with (board Treasurer) Hallowell, and board member James Ott, thanked the teachers and other professional staff for “what they did during the pandemic,” and added that “both sides (in the negotiations) have legitimate issues, and I am hopeful we can get to compromise, versus concession.”

At the outset of the meeting, Dr. Michael Donnelly, assistant to the superintendent for educational services, announced that the Pennsylvania Art Education Association had again honored the district, now for multiple consecutive years, as an Outstanding Visual Arts Community. The honor recognizes programs that are rigorous and inclusive; highly accessible; and highly visible.

At Palisades, visual art programs are offered at elementary, middle school, and high school levels.

Then, in a surprise recognition, District Magistrate Gary Gambardella, honoring Superintendent Dr. Bridget O’Connell for being named 2022 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year, presented her with a limited edition, reproduction lyric of “Teach Your Children,” produced from a handwritten original by musician Graham Nash, and which was originally performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Gambardella, who works closely with the district on truancy issues, took the opportunity to note that his court’s involvement emphasized “keeping students in school, off drugs, and on the right track, rather than a punitive” approach.


Palisades Superintendent Dr. Bridget O’Connell was presented a limited edition, reproduction lyric of “Teach Your Children.” District Magistrate Gary Gambardella, the presenter noted it was in recognition of O’Connell’s being named Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year.

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