Written by Chris Boyle Saturday, 29 March 2014 00:00
The Herricks School District announced that they had come to a new three-year agreement on Thursday, March 20.
Budgetary woes have the unfortunate effect of putting student programs and thus, the quality of their education, in jeopardy; something that Herricks Board President James Gounaris touched on last week.
“The past four years have presented unprecedented challenges to the Herricks community...challenges which are ongoing today,” he said. “Three years ago Herricks administrators stepped forward and voluntarily opened up a previously negotiated agreement, helping save programs and services for students.”
The district has been negotiation with the union for the past two months. The agreement calls for a 1 percent raise, plus STEP increases in each of the three years, a one-quarter of one percent “off-schedule” payment in year one, an increase in the employee share of health insurance while rising from 20 percent to 30 percent over three years, and an increase in the employee share of health insurance in retirement from 20 percent individual and family to 35 percent individual/40 percent family.
The new agreement takes effect on July 1 and Gounaris said that both sides were pleased with how it came out.
“We are proud to formally announce that we have reached a mutually acceptable agreement which is fair, responsible, and will keep the best interests of Herricks students paramount,” he said. “The members of the board are deeply appreciative that administrators were cognizant of the fact that the cost of benefits are constantly rising and that, as much as the Board would like to do, benefit levels could not be sustained at previous levels.”
In addition, the ongoing process of crafting Herricks’ 2014-15 budget continued at the meeting that evening. Herricks could receive more New York State aid that had been previously announced. It was also revealed that an additional bump in funds may be forthcoming from the state, which may require an adjustment in the district’s budget figures and the possible restoration of programs or staff, Gounaris said.
“We may be getting some additional state aid, now that they’re finishing their budget...we may be getting another $250,000 or so,” he said. “Whatever the exact amount turns out to be, we will be making whatever needed changes to our numbers at our next Board meeting to accommodate the increased aid.”