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Manhasset Board of Education and Teachers Reach Agreement

Two-year contract generates savings of $650,000

(Submitted by the Manhasset School District.)

The Manhasset Union Free School District and the Manhasset Education Association (MEA), the union representing the district’s teachers, have agreed on a new two-year collective bargaining agreement to be effective for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years that will generate savings for the district of $650,000 over the two years. The board of education, district administration, and MEA worked cooperatively to reach an agreement prior to the board of education’s adoption of a proposed budget for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. The timing of the agreement enables the superintendent to recommend a budget that meets the new requirements of the tax levy cap and would continue all current programs for students. The new agreement is responsive to budget pressures on multiple fronts that include restrictions resulting from imposition of the tax levy cap, the requirement to fund significant increases mandated by New York State in pension contributions, and higher health care premiums.

Manhasset Board of Education President, Carlo Prinzo, said, “On behalf of the board, we extend our congratulations to Superintendent Cardillo and MEA President Ed Vasta on the completion of this agreement. The true winners are our students, because this agreement enables our schools to continue offering programs of excellence that the community expects in a respected college preparatory public high school. Everyone involved with the negotiations put the students and the classroom first, which is what education should be all about.”

Ed Vasta, president of the MEA, stated, “On behalf of the faculty, we are pleased with the outcome, which was the product of working collaboratively with central administration and the board of education. The process was driven by the common goal of maintaining excellence in education for the students of Manhasset Public Schools.”

Cindy Cardinal, who has been a member of the board of education for the past nine years, including six years in which she served as board president, stated “It is particularly gratifying to me, in my last year of service on the board, to see how far we have come as a district. We were able to enter these negotiations in a true spirit of cooperation and, due to the efforts of the administration, especially Superintendent Cardillo, we now will be able to meet our fiscal responsibilities while maintaining extremely positive staff relations. This agreement embodies that spirit and allows the district to move ahead with intact programs and staff.”

The new two-year agreement includes no salary increase (0 percent) in the first year and a 1 percent salary increase in the second year. Teachers who are entitled to annual increment increases, also known as ‘step’ increases, will earn the increased increment on a deferred basis for only the second half of each year of the contract. Teachers who are not entitled to an increase in annual increment will receive a one-time, off-schedule payment of $1,000 in the first year of the agreement. The teachers will continue to contribute 22 percent of their health care premiums, which is among the highest contribution percentages for Long Island’s public schools.

Besides limiting salary increases, the cost savings under the new agreement would be generated from three areas: (1) limits on increases in salary when a teacher completes additional approved course work, including a moratorium in the 2013-2014 school year on any salary increase for additional course work, (2) reductions in the district’s payments to the MEA Benefits Trust Fund, and (3) reductions in the level of payments to teachers who decline health insurance coverage.

While final details of New York State’s requirements for the new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) process are being addressed by a district team consisting of administrators and teachers, the district and the MEA have agreed on the appeal process for the new APPR. It was agreed that teachers who are rated either “ineffective” or “developing” shall have the right to appeal such ratings, and that the decisions of the superintendent on any such appeal shall be final, binding, and not subject to the grievance arbitration process of the collective bargaining agreement.

Further details on the new two-year agreement can be found on the district’s website: www.manhasset.k12.ny.us.