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Teachers On Strike In Ambridge, Schools Closed

AMBRIDGE, Pa. (KDKA/AP) - Approximately 190 Ambridge Area School District teachers are on strike.

Schools are closed Tuesday after educators in the Beaver County district walked off the job following months of contract negotiations. The school board and teachers' union remain at odds over salaries and health benefits.

"The board has made what we believe to be a very fair salary offer, which includes compensation beyond the increases in the salary scale," Ambridge Area School District solicitor Ira Weiss said. "The district has also made a very realistic proposal on the teachers' contribution to health care."

A last-ditch marathon negotiation session between Ambridge Area School District and a teacher's union took place behind auditorium doors Monday.

Around 9:15 p.m., it was announced that negotiations had broken down and that teachers would be going on strike.

The teachers' contract expired in June 2015.

"The District, if you read what is on their website, have seemed to dig their heels in and claiming that our proposals are going to bankrupt them, while in reality our proposals are very reasonable," Chris Konkus with the Ambridge Area Education Association said.

The District says it is in a very severe financial situation, facing a $1.5 million deficit.

It says it will be very difficult to fund the proposal it has already made, let alone any increase.

The state Education Department decided Wednesday that teachers must return to work on Jan. 4.

So far, no new talks are scheduled.

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