For over a year, the School Board and the Downingtown Area Education Association have been meeting in negotiation sessions to approve a new contract for the district's 850 teachers, librarians and guidance counselors. Two additional negotiation sessions have been scheduled for Jan. 15 and Jan. 28.Early in October, a negotiation page was added to the district website, www.dasd.org, to keep all residents informed about the process of these negotiation discussions. The site contains the latest Board proposal, frequently asked questions, press releases, and other important information about these ongoing talks between the union and the Board.

At the regular monthly board meeting on Jan. 9, DAEA President Lisa Anderson presented Board President Robert Eldredge with a letter of intent to strike. If the two-scheduled negotiation sessions do not result in a tentative contract, the union leadership has announced that a strike will begin on Jan. 29. As Superintendent, it is my job to prepare for any and all situations that may arise in our district.

Should the teachers announce a strike, all schools will close for the duration of the strike. The district will notify parents of a strike on our website and via the new "School Messenger" phone alert. All after-school activities including non-varsity athletics will be cancelled. Varsity athletics will continue as scheduled.

College placement services for seniors will continue to be available in our guidance offices. All school offices and the District offices on Wallace Avenue in Downingtown will be open during a work stoppage and will operate on a regular schedule. Any community event scheduled to take place in our schools will also continue. CAT Brandywine, CAT Pickering, and out-of-district alternative schools will continue per their schedules, with the district providing transportation. Classes for students attending out-of-district special education programs will also continue as scheduled with the district providing transportation. All CCIU operated early intervention and autistic classes will be relocated to the Downingtown Education Center on Manor Avenue in Downingtown. All non-public school transportation will continue as scheduled. The Board and the DAEA have been meeting with a state appointed mediator, Jill Rivera, since early fall. Ms. Rivera is working with both teams.

As this process moves forward, I want to assure you the District remains focused on its educational mission. We will make every effort to keep you informed. For future updates, please check our website at www.dasd.org. We are all hoping that a settlement will be reached and that all these operational plans will not be needed.

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