The teachers of the Floral Park-Bellerose School District and the board of education have a contract that expired in June 2008. Negotiations did not even begin until the fall of 2008, necessitating a return to work without a successor contract. It is now March 2009 and we still do not have a new contract.

After many non-productive bargaining sessions, the board of education made its first comprehensive proposal Jan. 26. The union made a counter proposal at that session. At the negotiation meeting Feb. 24, which ran from 7:30 to 10 p.m., it was within the board's power to make a counter proposal. They chose not to. Everything has now ground to a halt.

From the beginning, the board has never said it does not have the wherewithal for a fair settlement. The board has publicly stated it wants a fair and expeditious settlement. Now everything has changed. The board's most recent action contradicts their words.

We stand ready to meet with the board at any time to conclude our negotiations.

Valerie Lucas

President, Floral Park-Bellerose School District Teachers' Association

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