COAL TOWNSHIP — The Shamokin Area School Board (SASB) plans to approve a new five-year teachers contract at a meeting on Monday.

The district sent an announcement to The News-Item about a special meeting it has scheduled for 6 p.m. “for the purpose of approving the SAEA (Shamokin Area Education Association) contract” and two other unrelated matters of business.

New Superintendent Chris Venna confirmed the contract approval is on the agenda.

“We’re hoping we can finalize things next week,” he said Thursday.

He said he couldn’t discuss specifics at this time.

SASB President Jeff Kashner has been told that teachers plan to vote on the contract on Wednesday. He said union leadership at this point has all the facts about the proposal that will be presented to the full membership.

“The teachers still have to agree to it,” he said, “but hopefully by the end of next week we’ll will have an agreement in place and start the new (school) year with a new contract.”

He added, “Both sides made concessions to make this happen. But I think at the end we have a good contract.”

The previous contract expired June 30.

SAEA had sent a letter dated March 12 to the district saying a strike has been authorized for the first day of the 2018-19 school year if a new contract is not agreed to before then.

The district employs 165 teachers.

Strikes occurred twice in the 2015-16 school year before a new five-year contract was approved in March 2016. It was retroactive to 2013.

SAEA President William Clark could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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