Earlier this month, the Hampton Township School District and its teachers approved a new contract, capping nine months of negotiations.

“The entire process was handled in a very professional manner,” David A. Gurwin, president of the school board and a Buchanan shareholder, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “We knew that we had a partner on the other side of the table in people who truly care about the education of our students.”

Pennsylvania school districts are facing financial constraints related to Pennsylvania’s Act 1, which limits how much taxes can increase without voter referendum.

“This simply constricts our options,” he explained in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article published January 31, 2013. The four-year contract – a departure from the previous pattern of three-year deals – gives the district more flexibility, according to Gurwin.

As Gurwin told the Post-Gazette, teachers worked without a contract during the ongoing negotiations. Meetings were handled both face-to-face and with the assistance of a mediator.

“Both [face-to-face and mediator-facilitated meetings] have their place,” Gurwin said. “I know it was important to [the Hampton Township Education Association] that we always had a board member present.”

“That’s how we wanted to handle things,” he continued. “We thought it was important to participate. It showed them that we really cared.”